Lauren's Reviews > The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
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's review
Mar 16, 2012

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Read in March, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This book was fun, but somewhat thin. Susanna Kearsley gets a lot of praise for her subtlety, particularly in terms of the romance plots, and I would agree with that. This isn't a bodice ripper, and there isn't much in the way of corny love proclamations. Despite its shortfalls (discussed below), the relationship between Eva and Daniel grows relatively naturally, and the reader is left to appreciate the relative simplicity of it, made more believable by the state of personal loss that each of them share.

Kearsley does a decent job of rendering certain details of 18th century England, but most of her details reside in the description of a landscape that changes only slightly in the intervening years between 1715 and 2009. I wanted to know more about the food, about the buildings she visited, the ship, the characters, the politics, etc. It also bothered me that she barely described Eva or Daniel physically; beyond Daniel's improbable height, hair color, and brown pants, I didn't feel like I had a good picture of his looks, and none at all of Eva's.

In terms of the relationship she builds between them, I also thought it was sweet, but thin. In the end, it was definitely believable that their relationship could evolve to the point of marriage, but I wanted to see more of that evolution occur. It wasn't odd to me that he proposed directly after they had sex, but it was strange that they had sex at all given the general lack of conversation in the book. I would have liked more of the actual growth of their relationship to happen.

Additionally, I would have liked more description and thought put into the physics of time travel. Even by the end, the questions opened by the odd inconsistencies and unpredictability of Eva's traveling are not answered, even when she meets another traveler like herself. Even Daniel, who apparently has a very scientific mind (um...), doesn't try to figure out what's going on, despite the fact he would have most likely been scared out of his mind by her rather than amusedly accepting. Everyone seems to shrug their shoulder and say "just go with it." An inquisitive mind will not be satisfied with that.

With all of that said, I did find myself engaging with the characters and wanting to find out what happened to Eva, so much so that I stayed up until 3 am to read it. So, extra star for Ms. Kearsley, because most books don't keep me from my sleep that way.
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