The Tea Rose is a towering old-fashioned story, imbued with a modern sensibility, of a family's destruction, of murder and revenge, of love lost and won again, and of one determined woman's quest to survive and triumph.
East London, 1888-a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths.
Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, a bright and defiant young woman dares to dream of a life beyond tumbledown wharves, gaslit alleys, and the grim and crumbling dwellings of the poor.
Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona's dreams are shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death at the dark man's hands, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit-and the ghosts of her past-propel her rise from a modest west side shopfront to the top of Manhattan's tea trade.
Authentic and moving, Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose is an unforgettable novel.
Donnelly indulges in delightfully straightforward storytelling in this comfortably overstuffed novel. In 1880s London, the squalid Thames-side neighborhood of Whitechapel is home to Fiona Finnegan, spunky daughter of Paddy Finnegan. Both are employed by unscrupulous tea merchant William Burton, but Fiona is saving to start a shop with her love, Joe Bristow. Just as her future seems assured, a string of tragedies toppledher hopes. Joe is tricked into marriage to another woman, Burton has Paddy killed for supporting a labor union, Fiona's mother is murdered by Jack the Ripper and Fiona's distraught brother is found dead in the Thames. Fiona had been attempting to get compensation from Burton for her father's death, but when she overhears his boasts of killing Paddy, she must flee for her life with her sole remaining brother, five-year-old Seamie. She rushes to a seaport, but cannot get passage until the wealthy dandy Nicholas Soames offers it, pretending she is his wife. The scene switches to New York City of the Gay '90s, to the glitter of Delmonico's, the elegance of Gramercy Park and the crowded tenements of downtown. Fiona lodges with her alcoholic Uncle Michael and saves both him and his grocery on her way to making her fortune in the tea industry. But she never forgets her family's fate, and when she can, she returns to England to revenge herself on Burton. Though Donnelly's indomitable heroine steps out of period character from time to time her easy acceptance of Soames's homosexuality is particularly unlikely the novel's lively plotting, big cast of warmly drawn characters and long-deferred romantic denouement make this a ripping yarn. In the final dramatic settling of scores, Donnelly even ventures to unmask Jack the Ripper.
Love history entertained with characters that draw you in flaws and all!
The Tea Rose
Just be ready to never put this book down!
This is my third time reading this book and my second time reading the entire series. I just love Donnelly's writing style. She completely captivates you and truly makes you feel the emotions she is portraying in her characters. At times the story may seem a bit far fetched but yet it also makes the story all the more captivating and invests you all the more in the book and the characters. Every time I sit down with this book..or any of her books (I loved every one I have read) I'm stuck in it until the end.