The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar Journal
May, 2012 Volume 86, No. 5

Page 55

The Crestfallen Rose
By Michael D. Martin
Reviewed by William K. Crispin
In his novel The Crestfallen Rose, lawyer Mike Martin merges the journey of an American child born blind with that of two women whose lives are devastated in pre-World War II Germany, and turns it into an exciting tale of love and death.

Samantha Talbot is born blind. Her mother Ally, a nursery owner, searches for the cause. She finds a mysterious link to a pesticide and its manufacturer, Worldwide Chemical. No lawyer will touch her case until former district attorney David King agrees to pick up the fight for her and Samantha. King’s well-earned reputation as a straight dealing federal prosecutor steers his now private practice governed by empathy for his clients and a reflective search of his own personal direction haunted by events past.

What distinguishes this story from others is the intriguing backdrop of human drama cultivated by the clash of fascism and survival engulfed by so many during the time leading up to World War II. Martin deftly extracts a chapter from the many that could be told and brings this story to his audience.

Decades before Samantha’s birth, Amalia Hecht and her uncle Karl perfect a miracle pesticide then sought by the Gestapo. They pass it secretly to an American agent. Hunted by the police, they flee Germany, and at the Swiss border, Amalia befriends a young girl, Rachel Wisemann.

Ally, Samantha, and David face Worldwide Chemical in federal court in Miami, their quest frustrated by an ambitious judge, unscrupulous lawyers, and a callous opponent.

The Crestfallen Rose succeeds in bringing together this account rooted in espionage and a judicial system that cries out for an even hand from Lady Justice.

The Crestfallen Rose (hardback, 385-pp., $31.95) is available at major booksellers and on Kindle ($4.99). For more information, visit

Michael D. Martin is a Bar member in Lakeland practicing environmental and agricultural law.

Bar members may submit book reviews of approximately 300 words for publication. The reviews should be related to law, but may be practical, esoteric, entertaining, or fiction. Reviews should include the number of pages, the name of the publisher, and the cost of the book. Book reviews may be emailed to

[Revised: 04-30-2012]