Monday, October 3, 2011
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
"Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.
But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs.
The Rose Garden is a haunting exploration of love, family, the true meaning of home, and the ties that bind us together."
(from the publisher)
If you are a fan of Susanna Kearsley's novels, then you already know what to expect in The Rose Garden... lyrical writing... vivid images of nature and the landscape...historical settings... characters that you come to know and really care about...time travel that changes seamlessly from one frame to the next...and a breathtaking and poignant ending. The Rose Garden is no exception.
Susanna Kearsley has a very distinctive voice and her "comforting" stories of history and romantic suspense transport me to another time and place. I actually feel a bit out of sorts when I finish Kearsley's novels as I get so wrapped up in another world that I find it jarring to finish the book and realize the journey with the characters is over! That speaks volumes for the magic of her writing.
The Rose Garden introduces us to Eva Ward, a young woman who finds herself alone in the world after the death of her sister. She travels to Cornwall to Trelowarth, an old house where she and her family spent many happy summers as children. Eva believes that this would be the perfect resting place for her sister's ashes as they had such fond memories in Cornwall. She is welcomed by the Halletts, her long-time friends and the family which lives in Trelowarth, and they encourage her to stay for a while to help her get through this difficult time. Feeling stressed and grieved, Eva accepts their invitation and settles into life at Trelowarth. It is not long, however, before strange things begin to happen to Eva that have her questioning her sanity. Who are the voices she is hearing as she is sleeping in her room? Why is the landscape changing as she is walking in the woods?
Eva is experiencing time travel, and soon finds herself back in the 1700's at Trelowarth where two brothers, Mark and Daniel Butler, are involved in mysterious activites. Both smugglers and Jacobite supporters, Eva becomes more and more involved in their intrigue (and falls in love) as she travels back and forth in time. The time travel elements and the challenges Eva faces coming back and forth in time are handled well, but I do wish that the relationship between Eva and her love interest had a bit more spice. I like relationships that have depth and chemistry, and this didn't quite get off the ground until the very end. It was well worth hanging in there for things to develop, though.
Eva has many questions and must confront several issues: how is this happening to her? Can she change the course of history (or the course of someone's life) with her knowledge of the past? Will the present or the past be the place that will bring her a sense of belonging? I thoroughly enjoyed Eva's journey all the way to the stunning conclusion.
"Whatever time we have," he said, "it will be time enough."
***Thank you to Susanna Kearsley and Sourcebooks for sending me a copy for review.****
Title: The Rose Garden
Author: Susanna Kearsley
genre: historical romantic suspense