Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Tea Rose

A friend of mine pinned this book and wrote that it was on par with the Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. Since I love epic novels and enjoyed the Shell Seekers I repinned it.

I liked it but I didn't love it. Having said that I was glad to find out that it is actually the first of a trilogy, and I definitely plan on reading the other two. While the first book is complete in it's own right, I can definitely see how it would be possible for the story to progress.

The story starts off in London in the late 1800s and tells the tale of Fiona Finnegan. She is a poor teenage girl living with her family in a rough area of the city. She works at a tea factory but she and her boyfriend (who works as a produce seller at the local street market with his family) dream of someday having their own shop together. Given the time period and locale, Jack the Ripper is part of the story, but in a way that I felt was forced at times to add more drama and tragedy to Fiona's already rough life. 

I have to admit the story was pretty predictable, but I think that kind of went with Fiona's relatively naive character.  The first part of the story is a rapid series of tragedies that befall Fiona, and it felt like the author was rushing to get Fiona to New York which is where the majority of the story takes place.  Fiona sets off for New York in the hopes of connecting with her uncle and starting a new life there.  On board the ship she meets a man named Nicholas Soames who is also trying to start a new life after experiencing his own hardships and tragedies. They become friends and he is an important of her life from then on. 

Fiona becomes stronger and more ambitious as time goes on.  Women of this time period were stereotypically meek and were not expected to have any ambition besides finding a husband who can provide for her.  Fiona meets a lot of resistance as she strives to reach her goal, but at the core she has good friends and family who believe in her and support her.  

While the book ends in a believable way, I have peeked at the descriptions for the next two and do look forward to reading them after the others I picked up at the library today, probably starting with this one.


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