The Short Take:
If you liked Follett’s World Without End, this book is for you. In fact, I think it is far better than that best seller. Donnelly’s historical, epic romance avoids the trap of so many in that genre — her lovers actually show some smarts.
I am NOT a fan of romance books. In fact I usually avoid them like the plague. Too often one (or both) of the so-called lovers does stupid things and hides his/her feelings. Arggh! Even Scarlett O’Hara drove me crazy. The star-crossed lovers in this book do fail to communicate at times, but there’s always a smart reason for it. A refreshing change!
There’s lots of action, two side plots (one of which concerns the two main characters in Donnelly’s The Tea Rose), and a nice supporting cast of characters. It also has one of the most despicable villains I’ve come across in quite a while.
I wouldn’t call this great literature, but as far as pleasurable, escapist reading goes The Winter Rose is a good pick. I approached it with trepidation but was quite pleasantly surprised.
A Little Plot:
Our heroine India, in spite of her rich and disapproving family, becomes a doctor in London in 1900. Of course she’s excellent, but must work under another doc with archaic ideas. Then she encounters London’s most famed criminal, Sid Malone. Yep, it’s love. Very, very inconvenient love. Oh, did I mention that India has a fiance? Actually he sees her more as his financier. Yep, he’s the villain.
I’m not going to go into any more details but there’s murder, politics, corruption, women’s health, poverty, Africa, mountain climbing (!), and sex. One insurmountable problem after another besets our couple, but their loves stays true and the pages flip fast.
For more about Jennifer Donnelly and her books, click here.