Saturday, March 21, 2009

Julie's Review: The Tea Rose

Summary: In 1888, Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristow hoard shillings and pennies so that they can marry and open a shop. But Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of London's East End, and poverty threatens from the shadows. Setting the story in motion is the murder of Fiona's father, a dock worker whose union activities angered his tea-company boss. Fiona and her younger brother must flee to New York City to avoid their own murders. Through hard work and luck, Fiona and her beloved Joe prosper on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Misunderstandings and mistakes keep them apart as they build separate lives and incredible fortunes. Children's book writer Donnelly effortlessly takes her narrative through slums and high society while intertwining a number of subplots without tangling them. Both major and minor characters capture and hold interest and sympathy. Although the number of Fiona and Joe's near encounters stretches the imagination, readers will forgive the tease once the lovers' reunion and Fiona's revenge for her father's death converge in an action-packed ending.

Review: God, why did I wait so long to read this book??!! Was I afraid it wouldn't be as good as The Winter Rose?! The Tea Rose: A Novel is every bit is as wonderful if not more wonderful than it's sequel. Yes, I read them out of order. In The Tea Rose: A Novel we learn of the background of Ms. Fiona Finnegan and how she came to be the woman she is in The Winter Rose.

I LOVED learning about her background. I loved the background of her and Joe's life. Most of all I loved that she was a girl beyond the time period she lived in. I do think there were more woman like this than we will ever here of in history books. Not all woman wanted to cook, clean and have babies. Not that there is anything wrong with that but women today wouldn't be where we are without woman like Fiona Finnegan. She grew up poor, had tragedy after tragedy in her young life and yet escaped and made something of herself in the land of opportunity...America. Do I think Fiona was lucky and maybe parts of the book were unrealistic, probably, but that didn't change my mind about the book. The secondary characters in the book were wonderful, colorful and absolutely necessary to her story and this was Fiona's story. Joe is an integral part of it but it's a woman's story, not a man's.

I loved the romance in the book. Most of all I loved the vivid details of London and NYC during the late 1800s. What a time period to write about, so much rich history and such different history to draw upon. Ms. Donnelly does such an excellent job of describing both Whitechapel and NYC that you feel like you are there. I especially liked the descriptions of the fashion.

I also liked the idea that family is what you make it, because for some people family isn't necessarily blood, it's the relationships you cultivate.

I strongly encourage you to pick up both The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose for your reading pleasure. With the anticipation that the 3rd book in the series The Wild Rose is due out in 2010!! I will more than likely read The Winter Rose before the
last in the trilogy comes out. This is my 3rd Jennifer Donnelly book and I can say she has made it to my favorite author list.

Final Take: 5/5

Lisa's Review: The Tea Rose

Winter Rose Reviews: Lisa's Review: The Winter Rose & Julie's Review: The Winter Rose


Stephanie March 23, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf FOREVER! I really have to pick it up soon!

Julie March 25, 2009 at 11:12 AM  

You won't regret it! It's wonderful.

Marg March 26, 2009 at 7:33 AM  

I liked this book a lot, LOVED The Winter Rose and now I am waiting very impatiently for The Wild Rose!

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