A wonderful book so vividly described one felt you were there among the many heartwarming and equally evil characters Set in the 1800 s it takes you on an extraordinary journey you never want to end Quite simply brilliant. I had a lot of hope for this after reading Donnelly s A Northen Light which I really liked and after learning that A Tea Rose was set in London at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders a very intriguing setting, I thought But I m sorry to say, I was terribly disappointed.The characters are all extremely stale Good hearted and good looking people who have unfortunately been born into the working class There are no flaws to make them human Nothing I could relate with Plus, the biggest fault of this book I think, is the unbelievability of it Main characters Fiona and Joe, lovers separated by a horrible scheme Fiona goes to New York, Joe stays in London , are dirt poor but somehow, in a very short time, they both become extraordinarily rich on their own wit and intuition Oh yes, it s completely believable that a factory worker and a costermonger in the late nineteenth century could BOTH rise up to the top of society in so short a time Stereotypical characters Predictable, illogical plotlines Full of cliches Sorry, Donnelly, only 1 star this time.Find book reviews at A Quick Red Fox. This book has faults The story was pretty far fetched at times but I suppose in kind of an endearing fairy tale way which is funny, since a great deal of the book is extremely horrible and depressing , and the main character didn t really have any flaws.Well, I take that back Fiona, the main character, was in love with Joe That is a fault, in my eyes They grew up together, were in love, and had big plans to get rich together Well, through a horrible chain of events, they ended up on opposite continents I m not saying that what happened was really Joe s fault the whole thing was so pathetic, I was mad at him at first but really just ended up being sorry for him but I am not a member of Joe s fan club He is alright, I just think Fiona is better then him I forgave Donnelly for making Fiona so perfect because really, she earned it Bless her heart, she really got run through the mill in the story.Okaynow for the two main reasons I loved the book beyond all reason 1 Nicholas Soames He is officially one of my favorite characters of all time He DID have his flaws spoiled rich kid , but bless his heart, he did not live an easy life I fell in love with him, and so did Fiona in a friendly way Their close friendship and devotion to each other is one of the main reasons I forgive Fiona for being perfect I cannot say enough that I love this guy From the very second he walked into the story, I knew it was getting five stars I felt such an emotional connection to him, I have never wanted to be friends with a character so much Ever He melted and then broke my heart.2 The book made me feel Just a few words into Page 1, Donnelly put me into the storyshe just makes you feel like you are right there Once I was in, she never let up I was a part of that story from beginning to end, and that is a gift No matter what problems the plot might have, you cannot ignore an author or a story that so fully captures you Her descriptions and words are gorgeous AlsoI cried like a baby at one point obviously I m not going to tell you why, but when you read the book then we ll talk I meanI put the book down for a few minutes and just sobbed A book hasn t done that to me inI don t know how long I felt silly, but I couldn t help it The story broke my heart.There was a happy ending though, no worries Don t let my crying put you off.This is a great story, it is a long onebut I really think it is worth the time It, in many ways, isn t very originalbut there are plenty of twists you won t see coming It is a strange combination of Gaskell s North and South, Dumas Count of Monte Cristo, and heckI ll even through in the musical Rent Ha If that isn t an intriguing combination, I don t know what is. Once I got over da feckin Oirish accent t ing, I really got into this one What an epic tale I absolutely adored Fiona, her spirit, her independence, her outspoken nature, her love of her family 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. A tragic incident has horrible consequences for the McGowan family, especially Fiona.Spanning a number of years and two continents, it kept me on my toes Parts of the first half were quite heartbreaking The winter wind brought snowflakes with it We are not punished for our sins, but by them There was one part in and I wanted to catch someone and string him up by the balls Seriously I want a man who loves me.One who won t break my heart I know I am being a bit vague but you are sort of better off not knowing too much about what is going to happen He smiled bitterly.He was beyond damaged He was broken It was a long book but I seemed to fly thorough it, I was so engrossed in it. The Tea Rose Jennifer DonnellyWe re not punished for our sins, lad We re punished by them God didn t have to punish him he d created his own hell By himself and for himself I don t really know why I took so long to pick this book up I guess I felt intimidated by its size Also, having devoured A Northern Light I was afraid this one wouldn t be equally good Well, I can honestly say that I was captivated by its beautiful storyline So don t let the number of pages put you off.The Tea Rose tells the heartbreaking story of Fiona Finnigan who lives in the poor neighborhood of East End, London around the time of Jack the Ripper late 1880s After her family is destroyed by severe poverty and death Fiona flees London to start anew in New York Propelled by strong desire for life and revenge, she manages to rise from the ashes and become a successful tea trader But when the ghosts of her past return, she realizes it s time to confront her deadly enemies.The book contains a number of historical references which makes it all the interesting The mystery surrounding the identity of Jack the Ripper, though is what made it impossible for me to put the book down However, it would be amiss of me if I didn t tell you how far fetched the story gets sometimes Absurd coincidences and utterly stupid decisions made by sane and benevolent characters had me question the book at times However, once you accept the fact that this is a fictional story and allow yourself to get carried away by the enthralling narration you will love it I surely did The Tea Rose has everything Romance, murder mystery, suspense, drama, revenge all meticulously weaved around a carefully structured premise though not so original and vividly described by Donnelly s impeccable writing skills There is a chance you don t love this book as much as I did but it s definitely worth a try If you are looking for a good revenge story then this is the book for you The Tea Rose was a really good book, and I m so glad I persevered past the absolutely devastating first 200 300 odd pages It s one of those books that starts off with everything going so well that you know it s not going to last long I had a sense of foreboding, but the amount of tragedy and pain was really too much It just kept coming in wave after wave It wasn t just a bit dark or a bit tragic It was crushing, suffocating loss and pain That s going to stick with me for a while I m really proud of myself for pushing through it, because I usually hate reading books full of tragedy, and this was darker than I can usually tolerate.I m fairly certain I stuck with it partly because of the tea I love tea I drink it all day long And I love Victorian stories, and this one was refreshingly focused on industry and shops, and factories not something I ve seen very often since packaging and selling tea is not as glamorous as taking tea in the parlor The sense of place was very vivid, and it kept me reading, along with the hope that such tragedy couldn t continue for 700 pages without reprieve.I was totally ready to walk away if Part 2 didn t start turning things around But luckily it did From that point on, even though there are still sad parts, the overall tone is hopeful, and things start to go right I was finally able to settle down into an enjoyable historical tale with regular ups and downs The strength of love and friendships and resilience of spirit began to shine through, and the memory of those will stick with me for a while too Then, for the last part of the book, I suddenly found myself glued to the pages I couldn t read fast enough to see how everything would play out I wasn t completely sure I could trust everything to work out how I wanted it to, but in the end, all of the resolutions were so completely satisfying I can t believe I m saying it, but it was worth it to persevere What a roller coaster ride. I really like this book because it is a great story Fiona, our main character, goes through so much struggle and so many changes, and because she s such a lovely character you can t help but cheer for her She s stubborn, loyal and very intelligent and I quickly fell in love with her This goes for most of the characters in this book They were so easy to fall in love with while other characters were so easy to hate I do think that this book has its flaws It s very predictable and and contains a lot of the elements you can expect from a coming of age story I wasn t really surprised at any point not until the very last pages , but the truth is I didn t really mind that much I loved the way the story was going and I loved to read about Fiona and her changes till the end This is a very long book, but at no point did I feel like it was dragging too much or that any pages could have been taken out of the story I think the best part about The Tea Rose was the romance Jennifer Donnelly has created an intense relationship between Fiona and her beloved one and my eyes were glued to the pages whenever we hear about this romance The worst thing about this book was its predictability which didn t really enhance the reading experience Last but not least, I find it extremely funny how Jennifer Donnelly has a way with words She likes to play with sounds and this book is no exception The silly name Tastea was just too foolish for me to take seriously, but at least you could see that this was a book written by Jennifer Donnelly.All in all, a great love story and coming of age book that will encapture you from beginning to end if you read it with an open heart and an open mind. East London, 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, 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 DreamsBut Fiona S Life Is Shattered When The Actions Of A Dark And Brutal Man Take From Her Nearly Everything And Everyone She Holds Dear Fearing Her Own Death, She Is Forced To Flee London For New York There, Her Indomitable Spirit Propels Her Rise From A Modest West Side Shop Front To The Top Of Manhattan S Tea Trade But Fiona S Old Ghosts Do Not Rest Quietly, And To Silence Them, She Must Venture Back To The London Of Her Childhood, Where A Deadly Confrontation With Her Past Becomes The Key To Her Future Set in London, England during the late 19th Century, The Tea Rose tells the tale of Fiona Finnegan Fiona is the spirited, ambitious daughter of an Irish dock worker She longs to break free from the squalid lanes and alleys of Whitechapel, where she has grown up and now has a job in a tea factory With the love of her life, Joe Bristow, Fiona dreams of escaping the poverty and opening her own tea shop But one by one her dreams fall apart as her father is killed in a dock accident, Joe is seduced by another woman, and her mother is viciously murdered a suspected victim of Jack the Ripper Devastated, her life in tatters, Fiona flees to New York City where she sets up home with her alcoholic uncle Michael Slowly she builds his small grocery shop into a thriving business and tea house, and her new life flourishes After ten years of hard work, she establishes herself as the head of her own powerful tea empire But she cannot forget London or Joe Convinced that her father was murdered by his brutal employer, Fiona vows to seek revenge and ruin him once and for all Making her way back to the streets of her impoverished childhood, Fiona must start her fight again The Tea Rose is an extremely well researched and well written novel which is packed full of unexpected twists and turns throughout the story I really enjoyed this novel I thought this book was very gripping, intriguing and engrossing tale and I found it very hard to put it down for long I couldn t wait to find out what happened next The descriptions of Victorian London were very vivid and I found it very easy to picture how the city looked in the 1880 s thanks to these I fell in love with all the main characters They were all so interesting, compelling and very well developed, especially Fiona She was such a fierce, strong, intelligent and brave character The secondary characters were wonderful too There were ones you love to love and ones you love to hate and I loved the way the author wove Jack the Ripper into the story.I absolutely enjoyed this book As soon as I finished this novel I brought the sequel, The Winter Rose, on my Kindle and I m really looking forward to reading it I will definitely be reading of Jennifer Donnelly books, apart from this series, too sometime in the near future Four Stars Although The Tea Rose is not the worst book I ve read, it s pretty terrible With a good 200 pages of drivel, it raises the question, how did this slip past the editor The other 350 pages drift somewhere along a mediocre plot line, ridiculous dialogue and predictable, fairytale like situations Every time a character had a setback in life it was magically resolved by some farfetched coincidence The book was littered with long descriptions that add very little to the story On page 13, Donnelly spends an entire paragraph detailing how Kate prepared dinner It s no wonder the book is over 500 pages longFrowning, Kate banged the whisk on the side of the bowl, knocking globs of cream colored batter from its wires, then tossed it in the sink She picked up a fork and poked it into one of the three mutton chops sizzling on top of the stove A rivulet of juice ran down the side of the chop, sputtering into steam as it hit the hot metal of the frying pan She speared the chops, dropped them onto a plate, and put them into a warming hatch next to the oven, alongside a jug of onion gravy Next she picked up a rope of sausages and cut the links into the pan As they began to fry, she sat down at the table across from her husbandThe most annoying thing of all Donnelly would spend hundreds of those pages leading up to the climax of a sub plot, then she d skip over it altogether and the reader would come in after It was a huge letdown The dialogue I did care enough to anticipate was skimmed over, leaving the reader with a sentence like, Fiona told him the story of what had happened to her Oh, great, thanks for that Having read A Northern Light as a teenager, I thought I would enjoy Jennifer Donnelly s adult fiction just as well I was wrong.