Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Publication Date: October 2011

Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.

Genre: Historical Romance/ Time-Slip

Pages: Paperback, 448pp

ISBN-13: 9781402258589

ISBN: 1402258585
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Susanna Kearsley on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from The Rose Garden


When Eva’s filmstar sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Trelowarth, Cornwall , where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina’s ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs.

But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived – and died – long before she herself was born.

Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


Susanna Kearsley weaves a tale of romance, time-travel, mystery and political intrigue into her latest book, The Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is a time-slip historical romance with cleverly written characters, a interesting plot line, timely historical references and evocative descriptions of time and place. The author has created a novel that will resonate with main stream romance readers, historical romance enthusiasts and fans of the paranormal.

Kearsley is able to draw the reader in and make them believe that time travel is possible, shifting easily from the 21st century to the 18th century and back again. One of the things that is essential in a time-slip novel is giving the reader a reason for the time transfer. Why, not how... Kearsley pulls this off with ease. Her reasons become obvious to the reader, when main character Eva Ward falls in love with Daniel Butler the 18th century owner of Trelowarth House. Kearsley's reasoning may not be completely plausible but it works for this particular novel. Readers who are a bit more analytical may look for a deeper meaning, but I don't think that's what Kearsley had in mind. She gives readers a character who has faced tragedy in her present life, who is looking for something more and she finds that in 1715 Cornwall.

The plot for this novel is quite interesting. There is a lot going on in both past and present that Eva gets involved with. In the present she is trying to help the current owners of Trelowarth figure out what they want to do with the property, leave it as it is, a farm where heirloom and other rare roses bloom or make it into a Tea House that could make them some money while still retaining the beauty and aura of the old mansion. In the past, Eva becomes entangled with Daniel Butler, previous owner of the house, who is a smuggler and Jacobite supporter. Overall the book had a distinct Gothic feel to it. With old mansions and smuggling. I found it interesting that the author was able to make both time periods distinctive and entertaining to read about. In most time-slip novels one time period or the other generally gets more emphasis and is more enjoyable to read about, not with this one. Kearsley is able to make both era's memorable and keep the interest high for the reader in the past and the present.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the authors ability to set the time and place. Her descriptive powers were definitely working in this novel. When she describes the windswept Cornish landscape readers can almost smell the salty sea air and feel the breeze on their faces. Kearsley is able to bring 18th century England to life with her choice of words, easily transporting the reader back and forth in time. She uses historical references with ease, making the facts adhere to the story. It is easy to see that her research was well done and accurately used to set the historical scene. Being of Scottish ancestry it is always interesting to me to see how authors portray events like the Jacobite uprising and I thought Kearsley did a good job of using the events, but not letting them overwhelm the story.

This one has a little something for several different kinds of readers. It is what I would call a 'clean' romance. Kearsley alludes to a lot of things but doesn't beat the reader over the head with too much sexual content. Main stream romance fans will love the story between Eva and Daniel and their growth over the course of the story. Historical fans will enjoy the 18th century descriptions and political intrigue and paranormal enthusiasts will enjoy how the author employs the time-slip and what that does to the overall story. I am recommending it to all my readers. It's an engaging read, the time travel element is well written and the characters are fleshed out and full of surprises. The supporting cast in both time periods are essential to the story and fun to read about. The ending may cause a bit of concern for some readers as it was a bit of a stretch to make everyone get their happily-ever-after, but not every ending has to be what is expected. The unexpected sometimes proves a whole lot more interesting.

The Rose Garden is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Susanna Kearsley's writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader's Digest, and optioned for film. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.


Anne said...

I have been wanting to read this one. Sounds wonderful, thanks for the great review!

Sarah Joyce said...

I've had a copy of this for at least a year but never picked it up. Thanks for the review! It's definitely higher on my TBR pile now!

Marg said...

Since reading my first Kearsley a couple of years ago I have read as many of her books as I can get my hands on! She has fast become one of my favourite authors, and I absolutely loved this book!