Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jennifer Donnelly – The Tea Rose

Title: The Tea Rose
Author: Jennifer Donnelly

ISBN # 0007155565

Publisher: Harper Collins

First Published: 2002

782 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 9/10

Set in Whitechapel in 1888, The Tea Rose is a tale of a love lost and won, of a family's destruction, of murder and revenge - and one young woman's quest to escape the poverty of her childhood and make her fortune in the tea trade. Fiona Finnegan is the spirited, ambitious daughter of an Irish dock worker. She longs to break free from the squalid lanes and alleys of Whitechapel, where she has a job in a tea factory. With the love of her life, Joe Bristow, she dreams of escaping the poverty and opening her own tea shop. But one by one her dreams fall apart as her father is killed in a dock accident, Joe is seduced by another woman, and her mother is viciously murdered - a suspected victim of Jack, the Ripper. Devastated, her life in tatters, Fiona flees to
New York where she sets up home with her alcoholic uncle. Slowly, she builds his small grocery shop into a thriving tea house, and her new life flourishes. After years of hard work, she establishes herself as the head of her own powerful tea empire. But she cannot forget London - or Joe. Convinced that her father was murdered by his brutal employer, Fiona vows to seek revenge and ruin him once and for all. Making her way back to the streets of her impoverished childhood, Fiona must start her fight again.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this novel except a little romance in an historical setting, but what I got was much, much more: Take a young couple from poor families with big dreams, add family tragedy that sets them on a downward spiral, separate them, introduce a pinch of betrayal and set it all in Whitechapel during the terrifying reign of the infamous Jack the Ripper and you’ve got a heart-stopping combination!

The story is full of intrigue and suspense and well as wonderful, well-written characters with realistic dialogue and down-to-earth attitudes – these people have very real problems and have to find solutions to fir the situations. It has excellent flow and kept me involved throughout – I could hardly bear to put it down.

Definitely one of the best reads so far this year.


Blogger Marg said...

I liked this one, but I absolutely LOVED the sequel which is called The Winter Rose. The third book in the trilogy will be out next year and is called The Wild Rose.

10:34 pm  

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