The Winter Rose
Written by Jennifer Donnelly
Reviewed by Heather T.
Estella’s theme for this issue is ‘change’. Barbara Taylor Bradford, a well known writer of romances classifies the heroine of ‘The Winter Rose’ as “a new breed of woman” and I must say that I agree. The novel is set in a time of much political and social change and hints at real world events make this romance a unique epic.
I’ve mentioned before that I am a fan of lovely, mushy romance and ‘The Winter Rose’ did not disappoint. However, this is no average bodice ripper but rather a substantial novel of over 700 pages. Even more endearing about this story were the added elements of mystery, historical detail (political and otherwise), adventure and varied locals. As a woman, I was particularly impressed with the strong, passionate and unlikely heroine, India Selwyn Jones who struggles with her medical school teachings of holding in her emotions and that of her deep instincts that tell her to follow her heart.
India is an idealistic aristocrat who has just graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women. It is naturally assumed that she will set up a safe and acceptable practice for her peers but she has other plans. Whitechapel’s poor and indigent are calling to her and she dreams of setting up a ‘modern’ clinic for those most in need, the women and children. In the early 1900s when women’s suffrage has become an important topic, this will be no easy task when most of those around India can do nothing but laugh at her plans and try to convince her to do nothing but marry and have children.
India’s life is complicated when she meets the gangster Sid Malone, saves his life and then falls in love with him. Sid’s life of crime has lost its attraction and he finds he is definitely not immune from India’s unintentional charms. Can they truly be happy when there are those around them that would like nothing better than to see them apart?
From England to Africa to America, the passionate convictions they hold are nurtured and challenged, both at the same time. ‘The Winter Rose’ follows ‘The Tea Rose’ and which I suspect was the first in a long line of an excellent series. I’ve added ‘The Tea Rose’ to my personal ‘to be read’ list and when the next ‘Rose’ is published I suspect I’ll be first in line to read it.
As most of you know, I like to include quotes with my reviews but when I finished this book, I realized that I hadn’t stopped to write even one! This novel really captured my attention and my imagination. I do hope you enjoy it should you choose to read it.