Oct 13, 11
Read in October, 2011
Jennifer Donelly's recently completed third book caught my attention so I decided to read the first book of the series which is The Tea Rose. I wasn't expecting a rags-to-riches romance with lots of melodrama, but Jennifer has turned out to be an extraordinary writer and the book is a pleasure to experience. Her East London characters are memorable and the setting of Whitechapel, where Jack the Ripper is running loose, adds authenticity to the events. Fiona Finnegan is a worker in a tea factory and she dreams of opening her own tea shop one day. An apt statement by one of the characters foretells much of the struggles that ensue to realize this dream--"What good was spirit when the whole world was just ready and waiting to knock it out of you?" The romance revolves around her neighborhood friend and lover, Joe Bristow, who has the same dreams as Fiona for getting out of poverty. This dream gets shattered though and the line, "We're not punished for our sins, lad. We're punished by them", is what haunts Joe in the story. If you are a fan of these big family epics then this is the book for you.