I had spent the second half of 2012 completely unhappy on the book reading front. Barely anything captured my attention, and those that did rarely kept it. Until I read The Tea Rose, a monster of a book that spanned the time period from 1888 to 1898 in both London and New York. I had picked it up because of a reference I had seen on a goodreads review about Jack the Ripper. Now Jack was definitely a part of The Tea Rose, but not the book’s main focus, which was the life and times of a poor East End London girl named Fiona Finnegan. I’m not sure how to explain how amazing this book was without giving anything away, except to say, there was romance, broken hearts, murder, mystery and pretty much every historical event taking place in London and New York around those times. Needless to say, I lost many hours of sleep getting through this 544-page turner.
Which is why, despite the fact that I was scared to pick up another book that might just drag on and on and send me back to boredom, I originally decided not to continue on with Jennifer Donnelly’s second book, The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose is the first in a trilogy). I needed to get some sleep and book number two was looking more like a George RR Martin novel at 704 pages than a quick
beach ski slope read. And, since The Winter Rose was going to focus on another member of Fiona’s family, and not Fiona herself, I felt it might be a big letdown.
Turns out I was completely wrong. At lease about the second book being a letdown. Considering I wouldn’t go to sleep this weekend until I finished it at 4 AM Saturday morning, and then was so eager to finish the trilogy that I jumped onto Amazon, downloaded The Wild Rose to my kindle and stayed up another half hour before passing out, I was definitely right about the former.
So I don’t want to even discuss anything about The Winter Rose since it will give spoilers away for The Tea Rose (great book review you’re doing, Sonja), but there’s more romance, broken hearts, and murder as well as a deluge of historic events (included for entertainment value, not for accuracy) stemming from 1900 to 1907 and from England to Africa. And I definitely got my fill of Fiona in this book even if it didn’t center around her. So here’s my recommendation:
- Clear a lot of free time in your schedule
- Get a lot of sleep
- Get all three books and start reading.