Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: "The Tea Rose" by Jennifer Donnelly

From Goodreads:  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. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan's tea trade. But Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book more than I expected to.  There were things that definitely bothered me about the story but for the most part I thought it was a good story.  I felt like at times the events that took place were a little bit predictable; at times, it was pretty easy to anticipate what would happen next.  I also thought that at times the story was a kind of overly dramatic.  There were times where it felt like I was watching a soap opera.  Normally, these types of things would make me not like a book but somehow I still felt connected to the story and the characters.  Fiona was one such great character.  She was strong, smart and incredibly ambitious.  Despite her upbringing, she knew what she wanted and was willing to work hard to make her dreams come true.  I loved that when it came down to it, she always followed her heart. (Okay, that was really cheesy to say but it's true).  The love story between Joe and Fiona was also one of my favorite aspects of this book.

The story makes the reader go through all kinds of emotions; at times it's creepy, at other times sad or super exciting.  I thought it was cool that the author included the Ripper murders into the story.  It added a bit of a mystery to the story which I think is always fun in a work of historical fiction.  This book is the first in a trilogy and I am kind of glad of it.  Even though the book was pretty long, I still had a lot of questions at the end and it looks like the next two books address those questions.  Overall, I am really glad I read this book and am excited to read the next one.  4 stars. 


  1. I read the whole series and I did enjoy all three books. The Tea Rose is my favorite of the three.

  2. I really want to read this series. I own the first two books but have yet to get a chance to read them!

  3. I loved this series! Yes, the books are long, but they are pretty impossible to put down so they don't feel nearly as long as they are. And in my opinion the second was my favorite, so you still have some great reading to go in this series!


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