The Easter holidays are finally here and a good thing it is too, as I think we all really need a break! I hope you have a good time…and maybe spend relaxing some time painting Easter eggs! I am sure I will!
We’ll be back here at work in 10 days with lots of fun stuff, starting with our much awaited review of the wonderful Italian classic for young adults Three metres above the sky!
Meanwhile I wanted to talk to you about something different. This time my recommendation is not a YA novel, but a trilogy of historical novels written by one of my favourite authors, Jennifer Donnelly. It’s called The Rose Trilogy and it consists of threes wonderful novels The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose.
For my post today I want to focus on The Tea Rose. The main character in this novel is Fiona, a girl of Irish origin who lives in the East End area of London, one of the poor districts, towards the end of the 19th century. Her father works at the docks and she works at a tea factory, where she is well-known for her ability to differentiate between different types of tea. She has a nose for tea.
At the time the area looked like this…
Nevertheless, despiste her poverty, she is happy and protected in her humble dwellings with her parents, her two younger brothers Charlie and Seamus, and her baby sister Elaine. She is brave and ambitious, and she saves every penny she can get hold of to build her own tea business one day, together with her boyfriend and childhood friend Joe, who sells vegetables at he marketplace.
However, things take a turn for the worse when her father, sick of the dire conditions in which he and his fellow workers are treated at the docks, becomes a prominent figure in the Union, and he is soon killed in what the authorities say to have been an unfortunate incident.
Soon afterwards, Joe disappears from her life without a trace and Fiona is left on her own to figure out what to do with her life…Ever courageous, she decides to travel to New York, harbouring dreams of her ambition becoming true in the Land of the Free.
I can’t recommend these novels highly enough. Reading this novel is like travelling back in time and seeing 19th century London with your own eyes. The writing is superb… and you really feel for these characters. Their life is hard, but they are strong characters who face adversity and come up none the worse for wear. I love the relationship between Fiona and Joe. This is really a story of true love.
The next two books in the series focus on the lives and loves of Charlie and Seamus, and they are just as good as the first!
Tea rose bouquet painting by Valentina Ragsdale