Saturday, February 27, 2010

Show Me 5 Saturday: The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon

Currently hosted by Jenners at Find your Next Book Here

1 Book I Read: The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon

2 Words that describe the book: Victorian Romance

3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:

1. Set in England and the battlefields of the Crimean War - mid 19th century.
2. Mariella, a conventional young Victorian woman reluctant to step outside without her corset and spending her time sewing and helping her mother do good works................and Rosa, her cousin, who is supposed to represent a new type of freer and more independent thinking woman . The narrator of the story is Mariella but Rosa is an important character and I found it impossible to find her believable - she was either an airhead or slightly demented!
3. Mariella's fiance Henry, also her foster brother , a serious up and coming surgeon.............and Rosa's stepbrother Max, the dashing cavalryman.

4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:

1. I liked much of the historical background: developments and improvements at this major growth time of Victorian London are shown through Henry's medical career and Rosa's determination to emulate Florence Nightingale, Mariella's father's work with drainage systems and the nasty stepfather as the exploitive manufacturer.
2. I didn't like the way the book jumped around between three time periods: from 1844 when Mariella and Rosa first meet, later when they come together again in London, and later again when Mariella goes to the Crimea to find Rosa. When a story is constantly returning to a short time in the past one assumes something of importance then is relevant to the present - if there was I never figured it out.
3. I didn't like Rosa.......I could see what the author was trying to achieve withe her personality but it didn't work for me.
4. I didn't like the ending:  it seemed to stop suddenly with only one question answered and a lot of loose ends so there is no idea of what finally happened to some of the characters.

5 Stars or less for your rating?

I'm giving this book 3 stars - I was disappointed and it's not a good sign when you start hoping it will end quickly and even skipping the odd page but I read it straight after The Pink Carnation - it was like chomping through a stodgy bun after a delectable fluffy meringue - and that might have influenced my thinking. Borrow it from the library would be my suggestion if you want to read it!

Royal Reviews Historical Fiction Challenge


  1. Doesn't even sound worth a trek to the library. There are too many really good books out there to have to plod through "stodgy buns". Great review! Have a good weekend and happy reading.

  2. Every time I see this book I am attracted by its beautiful cover, but your review makes me think I should probably pass on reading it.

  3. Please don't let me put you off completely - everyone's tastes are differrent but I do think there are many better choices out there.

  4. I think anyone would be freer without a corset! Too bad it didn't work out for you ... it sounds like it ended quite badly. I hate when that happens.