Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Title: The Tea Rose
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Thomas Dunne, 2002


Once upon a time (1884) there was a beautiful young princess girl called Fiona from a very poor family living in the East End of London . She worked for a nasty man who paid her a pittance to spend her days filling little boxes with tea . In the evenings she would sit by the river with her handsome young prince coster lad, Joe, and together they saved their pennies and planned for the day when they would be married and have a grocery store and a family........and live happily ever after!
But it all goes horribly, terribly, dreadfully wrong.
Fleeing for her life the heartbroken Fiona sets off to live with her uncle in New York. Fortunately she meets another handsome prince aristocratic young man called Nick at the railway station because she doesn't have a clue about travelling. Nick is ok because he's gay so she can share his cabin without worry and he'll take care of stuff and they can be best friends.
Fiona's uncle owns a grocery shop ( very convenient) and on arrival she finds that personal circumstances have turned him into a drunkard and a bankrupt (very convenient)........the door of opportunity is open and Fiona wastes no time grabbing her chance with both hands.
And lo and behold, in ten years she's a millionairess!
Meanwhile, back in London, the equally heartbroken Joe keeps busy building his own vegetable kingdom and he gets to be a millionaire too.

The rest I'll leave to your imagination!

If you like sweeping , rags to riches sagas filled with every human experience and emotion, you'll love this book. It's well written and is filled with characters both endearing and villianous and a background rich in detail. I particularly liked the descriptions of London's East End and the people who live there......including the sinister presence of Jack the Ripper.

It is the sort of book I used to relish, but have moved on from now, so reading it was like walking along a well worn path........the been there, done that feeling which did make me feel at times I was wasting valuable reading time that would be better spent elsewhere. Which is my fault - not that of the author who has written a very good book of this genre.


  1. So they both became rich and surely met again and lived happily ever after? At least I hope so

  2. So sorry you didn't like this. I thought it was supposed to be good, but if its a rags to riches tale, even I am sore and tired of it!

  3. Aths - it is good and it wasn't so much that I didn't like it but more I've read too many like it to get excited about it.

    Blodeuedd - ah yes, of course they did! :-)