Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Winter Rose

By Jennifer Donnelly

Los Angeles Book Review Prize winner Jennifer Donnelly met with great success in her work, A Northern Light. It should be no surprise that her new work, The Winter Rose, also holds its readers captive in a “breath-taking, page-turning” fashion from beginning to end.

When India Selwny Jones graduates from the London School of Medicine for Women, she embarks on a journey and a life that will take her far from the aristocracy, wealth, and comfort that she has always known. Though she fully intends to take on London’s “medieval” style of practicing medicine and reform women’s healthcare, will she be able to truly leave all that she’s ever known in order to delve into the dredges of London?

As one of the few women doctors in London at the turn of the twentieth century, India faces skepticism and chauvinism on the part of would-be patients and fellow doctors. As she dreams of opening a women’s clinic for the impoverished of London, she becomes painfully aware of the inadequacy of the training and background that she has received when it applies to the city’s poor.

Chance finds India treating and ultimately saving the life of the infamous Sid Malone, a notoriously ruthless yet charming London gangster. Having previously found themselves at better ends, the two seemingly ill-fitted people, surprisingly find themselves seeking each other’s company and skills before ultimately falling deeply in love.

Sid shows India the people of London in a way and depth she had never before imagined, forcing her to see the people rather than simply treat them. In return for this special gift, India gives Sid the opportunity to dream, perhaps for the first time, of a better life, one far from the violence and danger he has always known.

Disaster strikes the couple when a string of crimes rock the city of London. When a newly elected Member of Parliament is shot in an apparent assassination attempt and the body of a former mistress of Sid is found murdered, all believe that Sid Malone has gone on a murderous spree. Can the young love that has already had to conquer an ocean of differences survive this catastrophe? Or is true that once a villain, always a villain?

Aristocracy meets the impoverished. Politicians meet constituents. Good meets evil. Greed meets self sacrifice. Donnelly has taken all of these colors and has painted them on the canvas of London in the early 1900’s. Painting imagery with an accuracy in detail, Donnelly transports her readers to a different time and life. She has painted a masterpiece of mystery, love and heartbreak that will capture the imagination and hearts of her readers. Lovers of historical fiction will agree that The Winter Rose should be recognized as one of the best books to be published in its genre in recent times.

This review was submitted by Kristin Pace. Kristin is a wife and mother and founder of The Book-Trotter.  She wrote her first review 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.

Click to purchase The Winter Rose

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