Friday, August 14, 2009

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

From the publisher:

"East London, 1888 -- a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.

But Fiona's life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything--and everyone--she holds dear...."

My thoughts:

The Tea Rose is a sweeping saga featuring star-crossed young lovers Fiona and Joe in Whitechapel during Jack the Ripper's reign of terror. Hopes and dreams, tragedy, terror, suspense, love and loss, revenge, good fortune and triumph are the threads that weave this tale of the indomitable heroine, Fiona Finnegan. I enjoy big, chunky historical novels, and this one takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as she travels from London to New York in her struggle to survive and overcome the adversity in her life. The novel needed some editing as I thought it ran a little long in parts and could have been more concise, but the period details were interesting and the twists and turns of the plot lines were compelling. The reader is a little battle weary by the ending, but it is worth it to stay until the bitter end. Do I love it enough to read the sequel, The Winter Rose? Probably not -- this will be a stand alone book for me. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it lacked that special quality that would have made this otherwise
interesting story a 5 star read. If you've read it, what are your thoughts?

Title: The Tea Rose
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
557 pages

4 stars = Very Good; worth reading


Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

I know what you mean about when books lack that
"something special"...and you can't really say exactly what it is. Some people feel a connection to certain books, and others don't, that's the beauty of book reviews because they are our own opinions; doesn't have to be right or wrong, it's just how we feel :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! =)

septembermom said...

I've had those battle weary moments after reading a so so novel. Sometimes I'll revisit a book at a different time in my life and I'll enjoy it more.

Kim said...

Historical novels are probably my favorite. I feel like I am learning a little something along the way. Typically I am a patient reader, giving the book time. This one sounds interesting. I'm trying to get started on my Count of Monte Cristo chunkster! ~~ Kim

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I really loved this book, but I know what you mean, there was something about it that didn't make me rate it 5 stars. I do want to read the sequel though. I enjoyed the parts in NYC alot, but I think perhaps one of the things that it lacked was the fact that Fiona and Joe were apart for the majority of the book - that gets a bit tiring after a while, but I did enjoy the anticipation of finally seeing each other again.

Joanne said...

Thanks, everyone, for stoppy by -- as usual, I love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Sharon Galligar Chance said...

Ok, I'm a day late and a dollar short on this one, but give "Winter Rose" a try. I thought it was really good, better than "Tea Rose."

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When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

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