Laurel's Reviews > The Tea Rose

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
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's review
Jan 30, 2012

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

I fell into The Tea Rose and lived in Victorian England until I finished it. It is a richly written novel of a young woman of poor circumstances in the dockside and dicey Montague Street. Fiona works in a tea factory and loves a boy, Joe, the son of a costermonger. They are on the cusp of committing to each other when he has an opportunity to improve himself and ends up losing his true love to a wealthy, manipulative woman. Fiona had another blow as well. Her beloved father was killed under suspicious circumstances and the dark forces which ruled her world conspired to force her to flee to safety in America where she becomes takes the only thing she knows-tea and turns it into a successful business. She returns at last to England to seek out her true-love and exact revenge on her enemy. The book is rich with imagery, themes of class-struggle, homophobia, corruption, human-frailty and the hopelessness of poverty and a setting so rich you feel you've walked there. Through the lives of multiple characters is also woven the threat of Jack the Ripper and the terror which gripped the people over his carnage.

Others have said the plot was an issue. I was so invested in premise she could have taken me anywhere and I'd have gone happily.

Read it with a cup of tea in a china cup. You'll find yourself unable to do otherwise.
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