Title: The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose #2)
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: November 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult
It has been twelve years since a dark, murderous figure stalked the alleys and courts of Whitechapel. And yet, in the summer of 1900, East London is still poor, still brutal, still a shadow city to its western twin. Among the reformers is an idealistic young woman named India Selwyn-Jones, recently graduated from medical school. With the help of her influential fiance–Freddie Lytton, an up-and-coming Liberal MP–she works to shut down the area’s opium dens that destroy both body and soul. Her selfless activities better her patients’ lives and bring her immense gratification, but unfortunately, they also bring her into direct conflict with East London’s ruling crime lord–Sid Malone. India is not good for business and at first, Malone wants her out. But against all odds, India and Sid fall in love. Different in nearly every way, they share one thing in common–they’re both wounded souls. Their love is impossible and they know it, yet they cling to it desperately. Lytton, India’s fiance, will stop at nothing to marry India and gain her family’s fortune.
Fractious criminal underlings and rivals conspire against Sid. When Sid is finally betrayed by one of his own, he must flee London to save his life. Mistakenly thinking him dead, India, pregnant and desperate, marries Freddie to provide a father for hers and Sid’s child. India and Sid must each make a terrible sacrifice–a sacrifice that will change them both forever. One that will lead them to other lives, and other places…and perhaps–one distant, bittersweet day–back to each other.
“He realized she was a rare creature, as rare as a rose in winter.”
I don’t why every time I start reading these books whenever I have exams scheduled, so it took me a long time to read them even thought I wanted to finish it as quickly as I can.
I was so lucky enough that Jennifer Donnelly herself had commented on my review for The Tea Rose and mentioned that I would like The Winter Rose because of the main character. And I was right! The Winter Rose takes place a few years after the events from The Tea Rose. We are also introduced with a brand new set of characters, but some of the old ones like Joe and Fiona Bristow, and Sid Malone and Seamie Finnigan made huge appearances throughout the whole book. The second book now revolves around India Selywn Jones and Sid Malone. Our lead female protagonist, India’s a female doctor, and she strives to open up a free clinic in Whitechapel. She then encounters Sid Malone – one of the most notorious criminal bosses in East End London. Their paths continue to cross, problems arise from both sides of their social classes, but things then heated up and they later on became lovers. But it isn’t a Tea Rose novel if it doesn’t include star-crossed lovers, politics, betrayal, revenge, and a lot of money-scheming!
The book still had a very complex plot, which I loved tremendously! All that different mini-plots from different characters merged into one at the end, giving a huge bang! It also has that little plot twists in the book that I didn’t expect and just made the whole book even better. I also loved how the book ended with an open-ended ending, giving us the free reign to imagine what would have happened to our lead characters after that final chapter. I also highly enjoyed the medical aspects coming from India, because I could relate a lot to it! The medical research done in the book was so marvelous! I particularly loved that India focused on the women and children’s health and how she immersed herself in the slums with the help of Sid to get a better grasp of the community she is serving for, and how to help them better. I also could feel the frustrations that India experienced with her old batty employer, especially at how cynical and old-school he was, not giving a damn about the patients. While I didn’t care that much with the politics surrounding the book, especially in the parts with Freddie Lytton, I still couldn’t help but read through them because it still tackles a lot of issues, such as poverty, and providing the proper healthcare for the poor, women, and children in the poorer parts of London. Sure, the politics was a bit dragging, but when Joe Bristow started to make a difference by running for a government position, things got really more interesting! Also, we get to travel another country again aside from England! If we got New York in The Tea Rose, we got Africa in this book! I loved those chapters so much when they were in Africa, because everything was in detail and I felt like I was there myself.
My heart definitely broke into a million pieces again with this book, leaving me crushed all over. But I was more than glad that things were sorted out, and nothing too bad happened to my beloved characters.
This book still continues to follow the principles from the first book. How very woman should be independent and strong, how to defend herself and those she loves from all the wickedness and corruption surrounding her. How family needs to be stronger than ever, and karma will definitely get its hands on those who did wrong. Obviously, love is the main theme, and the whole book was driven with love – for family, for lovers, and for countrymen.
I can’t wait to start reading the final book, especially I need to know more what had happened with Seamie and Willa!