Friday, June 28, 2013

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

IThis is the second installment in Jennifer Donnelly's Tea Rose trilogy.  The first was mostly about Fiona Finnegan and she still plays a part in this one, but the focus of the book is on India Selwyn-Jones.  India is fresh out of medical school (a rarity for a woman in 1900).  She works with a male doctor who is very set in his old-fashioned ways.  India dreams of opening her own clinic to help the impoverished women and children of London.  India's parents are well off and would prefer she marry her ambitious fiance, Freddie Lytton and forget about the clinic.  He also feels that her career as a doctor would be a detriment to his career as an MP.  Freddie is ambitious and conniving and will stop at nothing to get what he wants - including murder and framing others for it.

Freddie's main opposition in Parliament is Joe Bristow - Fiona's husband.  Joe represents the working class area where he and Fiona grew up.  Fiona has two brothers Seamus and Charlie (aka Sid Malone). Seamus is adventurous and is always looking for new expeditions to join - traveling to Antarctica, or climbing mountains.

Sid Malone is a gangster who runs a large syndicate in Joe's district.  India meets Sid when tending to her patients and he helps her get some of the things she needs to help her patients.  While both try to fight their feelings they eventually become secret lovers.  

Fiona worries greatly about her brothers sometimes to the detriment of her relationship with her husband.  As with any good epic novel, there are many other story lines and characters and I definitely enjoyed this.  I even preferred to the Tea Rose and I don't think you have to read the first to enjoy this one.  I look forward to reading the third (and I think final) installment but am taking a break to try some other authors.

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