DubaiReader's Reviews > The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
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Jul 30, 12

bookshelves: 2012, audible
Read from July 29 to 31, 2012

Magical realism at its best.

I'm pretty fussy when it comes to magical realism, the balance between being believable and being silly is a fine line in my opinion. Susanna Kearsley was spot-on, however. Both elements, the present and the past, were perfectly joined, even blurring into one another. And the ending was brilliant.

After the death of her vivacious sister, Eva returns to Trelowarth House, Cornwall, where the sisters had spent many wonderful childhood summers. It is twenty years on and Eva feels that her sister's ashes should be spread there amongst her favourite memories.
Their childhood friends are still there, Mark and his sister, Susan, and their stepmother, Clare. Eva busies herself helping to realise Susan's dream of a tea room to attract tourists to the house and much needed income to the old place.

When Eva slips back in time she finds herself in Trelowarth House still, but back in 1715, an era of uprising in favour of James Stewart. The house then belongs to Daniel and Jack Butler, who live there with Daniel's friend Fergal. Daniel and Jack own a ship, The Sally, and make a living by smuggling.
Adapting to the ways of this time causes understandable problems for Eva with her modern views and American accent. She has problems dressing in the elaborate gowns and pinning her hair as befits the fashions of the time. She must also learn to cook the local foods, light fires and bring in water from the well.

Eva has admirers in both times, Oliver in modern day Cornwall, and Daniel in the past. How is she going to resolve this dilemna? And how can this tale possibly end?

The version I 'read' was an audible book, excellently narrated by Nicola Barber. She gave Fergal a great Irish accent (to my non-Irish ears) and Eva had a mild American twang. It was occasionally over-enunciated but all in all it was a pleasure to listen and I was sorry when the final line had been read.

Highly recommended.
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