It had been a slow insufferable reading. I could find nothing that made me symphatise with either Lady Katherine Grey or Katherine Plantagenet. I don't understand why the choice of these two together as the protagonists of this book: Lady Jane Grey's sister and Richard III's illegitimate daughter. Apart from sharing the same name, what similarities were shown in the book to be theirs? And why set the seeking of the truth behind the murders of the princes in the tower in Katherine Grey's lifetime, in particular?
I suppose Weir tried to produce a balanced pro and con to the well-accepted theory that Richard III did away with his nephews by choosing Richard's own daughter to give the counter opinion. Except it was never balanced for even from Kate Plantagenet's point of view, there were so many rumours being cited. In the end this is just a presentation of why Richard III was a crook. Obviously the theory is the same as the one Weir presented in her non-fiction The Princes in the Tower. Now that really kills my intention to ever read that book. A pity I actually have a hard copy of it....more
I have difficulty convincing myself that this is indeed set in the Victorian era. When I read this book, for the most part it felt like like 1950s. ThI have difficulty convincing myself that this is indeed set in the Victorian era. When I read this book, for the most part it felt like like 1950s. The East End life described conjured in my mind the London dock in Call the Midwife instead of the time Jack the Ripper ran rampant. Why, why, why? I wonder. This book is rich with description that does not necessarily contradict with the historical facts of the time, and that vibrant description is what makes reading it oh so fun. But I cannot help feeling like something is hollowly missing, like drinking a cup of richly milky tea which somehow lacks the milkiness I expect.
For one thing, Fiona Finnegan is too modern to be Victorian. I am not referring to her fierce ambition to have her own shop, I call that extraordinary rather than out-of-place and that quality being the main pull of the character and story, it is what moves the story along. But Fiona's conduct towards men when in public is the kind that will make matronly women at that time gasp and gape. She flings herself into the arm of a man she barely knows and swings about with men she has no official relationship with, that is weird I think. And I cannot imagine her going about without wearing corset, even when she has begun to move in the circle of the middle and upper class. It is stifling she said, and to be honest I find it annoying when current writers try to implement our modern set of values into their historical writing. Fiona will only be called a loose woman if she goes gadding about without being corseted, instead of being admired in the exaggerated way she is described in the book.
This book sure stretches one's suspension of disbelief a tad too far. Fiona is almost too perfect, Joe and William spend pages mooning over her and how different she is from other women. If those who work under her do not describe her as a harridan, she probably borders to becoming annoying. Some of the other characters are too open-minded to be easily believable, the way Fiona's 'family' accepts Nicholas easily despite learning about his homosexuality (a crime and sin if you were from respectable background at the time). Fiona's open-mindedness is one thing, but if everyone is like her... They should at least show some apprehension in the beginning at least to make it believable.
And of course the melodrama. Misfortunes plying one on top of the other, Dickens-like coincidences and chance encounters, and two lovers who keep missing each other like two ships passing in the night - which reminds one of a soap opera or Indonesian sinetron. Tea Rose is nothing if not overdramatic.
But Tea Rose is not without charm. It is a story about a working class girl's rise until she becomes the biggest tea merchant in America. It is a love story but it is not only just a love story. It is quickly-paced and thick with details, a bit far-fetching at times but not totally unforgivable for it. It has plot twists, but it is not the kind of book that is written just for the sake of the twists (like Gone Girl). And the ending is the kind I like for a romance.
It may not be for everyone. If you are allergic towards melodrama, then 600+ pages of it may be too much and can send you to the Emergency Room. But if you are a feminist or if you like strong girl characters who kick ass, though not in the literal sense, you may want to give it a try. I know if some years in the future I may even re-read it. Because Tea Rose despite having the moments when all things are so bad it seems nothing can be right, there are times that good things happen to the main character and you are just so happy for her, you feel all these warm feelings rushing into your four chambers of the heart.
Ehh, nothing much really. Just a very short story with a more straightforward plot than the regular Lockwoods. Lockwood usually has a twist that suppoEhh, nothing much really. Just a very short story with a more straightforward plot than the regular Lockwoods. Lockwood usually has a twist that supposedly should make (younger) readers go Ohh he is the bad guy?! Well, minus that.
Re-introduction of characters, re-introduction of concepts like the Source and Talents. Meh, you don't miss anything if you don't read this....more