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April 2018: Strong Women > The Tea Rose - Donnelly - 4 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3168 comments The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose, #1) by Jennifer Donnelly

The Tea Rose - Donnelly
Audio Performance by Jill Tanner
4 stars

This is the first book of a multi-generational saga. It begins in London in the late 19th century. Fiona Finnegan is a 17 year-old East London factory worker with a large, working class Irish family. Fiona has ambitions. She and her childhood love, Joe Bristow, are saving their pennies to someday own their own shop. A relentless series of tragedies deprives Fiona of most of her family. She is separated from Joe and flees to America to escape a ruthless murderer. Hard work and a series of lucky chances allow Fiona to return to London years later with the money and power to exact her revenge.

This book got off to a very slow start. I liked the main character and all of her family. But, having read the publisher’s blurb, I knew that the real action of the story would take place after Fiona had lost nearly everything and everyone. It was a least a quarter of the book before she actually landed in New York and the story could really take off. I was sucked into the story. I was cheering for Fiona on one side of the Atlantic Ocean and for Joe on the other side. The story had a large number of interesting, likable, characters and a few despicable villains. There weren’t too many surprises in the happily-ever-after, although I became frustrated with the number of contrived mischances that kept the unhappy couple apart. However, all’s well that ends well. It was a satisfying ending with a bit of a cliff hanger for the next book. I own the next book, but I’m not quite ready to tackle another involved family soap opera just yet.


message 2: by annapi (new)

annapi | 5211 comments The start was so slow I gave up on it. Maybe one day I'll pick it up again.


message 3: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) Sounds like this (and the sequel) would fit May's "Family Drama" theme....


message 4: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments One of my favorite series.


message 5: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3168 comments Cheryl wrote: "Sounds like this (and the sequel) would fit May's "Family Drama" theme...."

Lots of family drama.


message 6: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3168 comments Ladyslott wrote: "One of my favorite series."

I read your reviews, Linda. Didn't sound like you liked the last book of the series.


message 7: by ~*Kim*~ (new)

~*Kim*~ | 613 comments I enjoyed this one, but definitely liked the 2nd book better.


message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2112 comments "A relentless series of tragedies"

I have trouble with these type of stories. I don't like them in my comedy either with movies like RV or Meet the Parents.


message 9: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 3168 comments Jason wrote: ""A relentless series of tragedies"

I have trouble with these type of stories. I don't like them in my comedy either with movies like RV or Meet the Parents."


I did like this book. Certainly it was historically accurate in its depiction of the poor conditions of the working poor of east London. This was in the very early days of unionization. Factory owners were ruthless and all powerful.

I just became frustrated with the author who did such a good job of making me like characters that were surely going to die. It was hard to plow through a beginning that was so heavily loaded with sadness.


message 10: by Ladyslott (new)

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Jgrace wrote: "Ladyslott wrote: "One of my favorite series."

I read your reviews, Linda. Didn't sound like you liked the last book of the series."


No I didn't but it is still a favorite series because of the previous books.


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