A blog dedicated to my opinion on books

Friday, January 13, 2017

"The Rose Garden" by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  The Rose Garden
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Year: 2011
Genre(s):  Historical fiction, fantasy, romance
Part of a Series: No

Why I read it: Because Goodreads recommended it.

Summary: After the death of her beloved sister, Katrina, Eva returns to the house where they spent their summers as girls. She is reunited with their family friends and helps them to save their property, an old Cornwall house with a famous rose garden. She starts to have strange experiences with time and realizes she is going back in time. There, she meets a previous owner of the house—Daniel Butler—and finds herself in the middle of an uprising against Queen Anne. She is drawn to Daniel and finds herself more and more in the 18th century. Does she belong there? Can she stay? Or is she going mad?

Review: I’m not sure but I have a strong suspicion that Kearsley was heavily influenced by “Outlander.” After all, there is time travel, there is love and there is a Stuart revolution. Just not the same one from “Outlander.” It’s even written in first person!

There are a few things that differentiate it from “Outlander.” For starters, it takes place in modern times. Eva is also an American visiting England, not a Brit visiting Scotland. She also goes between the past and the present without any warning, whereas Claire stayed in the past until she returned to Craig na Dun. So for a long time, Eva wonders if she’s going nuts.

Let’s focus on Eva for a bit. She’s our narrator and is an engaging one, which is good to keep the reader’s attention. And she’s lost when we first meet her, having lost her sister and leaving her life in California behind. She’s trying to find a new path for herself and then she ends up being able to travel through time to the early 18th century. It’s there, with Daniel and Fergus, that she starts to find where she belongs. It’s a well-done journey that feels natural.

Moving onto Daniel Butler, our male lead. He’s not a Jamie Fraser clone, much like Eva isn’t a Claire Randall Fraser clone. Yet he’s still a traditional romantic lead. He’s dashing and kind and very understanding of Eva’s situation. Maybe a too little understanding, accepting that Eva comes and goes between the past and the present. (Or the present and the future to him). He does everything he can to protect her and take care of her while she’s with him, drawn to her by forces behind their control.

There are several supporting characters in this book and it would take too long to discuss them all. So we’ll focus on two instead. The first is Claire, the older woman who welcomes Eva back to Cornwall and who was like a second mother during her childhood. She continues to advise and guide Eva throughout the story and is a soothing presence in the story. There is a twist with her at the end which is very well done. I commend Ms. Kearlsey for it. The second supporting character is Fergal, Daniel’s friend and aide. He also becomes Eva’s protector as much as Daniel does, keeping her safe whenever she ends up in the 18th century. He’s a spitfire with a soft center and it’s clear he cares about Daniel and Eva.

Onto the romance…It is an epic slow burn. What is a slow burn romance, you ask? Glad to answer! It’s a romance that the author takes a long time to build and to finally get the characters together. When done well, it can entice the reader and make the romance all the more satisfying. Kearsley’s is built up well but ran a bit too long in my opinion. I felt like there was still more she could’ve built up before the ending and Eva’s ultimate choice.

Bottom line: A good time traveling story for those who thought Outlander was a little too intense.
Sex: Nope. So if you thought Outlander was too raunchy, this is good for you too.

Moonlight Musing

Do you like slow burn romances?

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