82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2011
Having read, loved and re-read (many times) all of Susanna Kearsley's previous books, I had high expectations for 'The Rose Garden'. And I wasn't disappointed.
Like several of her other novels, this is essentially a story about love and friendship complicated by time. As with 'Mariana' and 'Sophia's Secret' (known as The Winter Sea outside of the UK), there is a link between the past and the present, in this case through the heroine, Eva. The love story is as beautiful as we have come to expect from Kearsley, and albeit somewhat predictable, the humour and dilemmas the characters face gives it an original feel.
There are plenty of interesting characters, both in the past and the present. The Halletts who own the house in Cornwall where Eva is staying are all very believable as old friends of hers. Daniel, the hero of the tale, is the kind of character that leaps off the page, and I found myself grinning stupidly whenever I was reading a passage he was in. Fergal - a wryly funny Irishman - is another highlight of the 'past' storyline.
Eva finds herself quite literally divided between her life in the modern world helping out at the eponymous rose garden, and the past of almost 300 years ago where smugglers and rebellions are the reality.
There is a nice little twist to the story near the end that I hadn't seen coming - one of those little details that you kick yourself for not noticing, and Kearsley wrapped all the loose ends of the plot up very neatly. This is the kind of book that you wish hadn't ended, even though you can't pace yourself because it's such a page-turner. If you're already a Susanna Kearsley fan then don't miss this one, and if you're new to her books then this is as good a place as any to start. 'Sophia's Secret' is still my favourite I think, but 'The Rose Garden' isn't going to let me forget about it just yet. I'll definitely be re-reading it in a few months when the paperback is available. I only read it in Kindle format this time around because I couldn't wait the extra weeks to buy a physical copy!
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2011
My very favorite Kearsley novel, and since she's one of my favorite authors in the world, that is saying a LOT. This book created a world of its own and sucked me straight in. I wished I never had to leave. It was so rich and vivid and ohhhhh, so deeply, deeply, romantic. It was also one of the most cleverly managed time travel novels I've ever read.
The eighteenth century sections were exciting and vivid, full of smuggling and action and danger along with an incredibly moving and powerful romance, and the modern sections were lovely too, and they all just fit together perfectly. I am in awe of Kearsley's storytelling abilities.
If you grew up reading & loving Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters and/or Mary Stewart, I can't imagine that you wouldn't love Susanna Kearsley, too. Read this book! :)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2012
For a very long time I wasn't drawn to the books of Susanna Kearsley. I read a good few positive reports, but I suspected that she would be one of those authors who did what she did very well without being the author for me.
But, with The Rose Garden, I began to wonder. I read so much praise from many different readers, with very diverse tastes. And it was set in my native Cornwall ...
I had to find a copy.
The opening chapter captured me. The emotions of CEva, mourning the loss of her sister Catherine, were captured perfectly. I cared, and I wanted to follow her story.
That continued throughout the story. The storytelling was plain, but very, very effective. Every character, every situation, every emotion rang true.
She was travelling from Californian home to Cornwall. To scatter her sister's ashes where they had always been happy, where they felt they belonged, where they had spent many happy summers with family friends.
Cornwall is captured perfectly, by an author who so clearly understands its heart and soul.
Eva returned to Trelowarth, the home of the Hallett family. Old friends, who understand her loss, her pain, and offer her love, support, and a place to come to terms with what has happened.
And she can give them something too. As a PR consultant she can help them with their plans to encourage more visitors to come to the house, and to spend the money needed to keep it going.
Eva begins to research the history of the house, and soon she finds the past reaching out to her. First she hears voices. And then she steps back into the past.
To 1715, when Trelowarth was the home of Jacobites, planning to overthrow the protestant King George I and put a catholic claimant, James Stuart, on the throne in his stead.
This is where I worried that things would go wrong. Time slip novels often do, but this one didn't. I can't quite explain why. But I'm sure it helped that of those concerned dealt with what was happening wonderfully pragmatically, and so the story could continue apace.
As Eva moves between past and present - tea rooms and rose gardens in the present; smuggling and rebellions in the past - she becomes involved with the lives of all those she knows at Trelowarth.
And with one Jacobite rebel in particular...
The stories - both past and present - were engaging, with just the right details picked out.
And there was always something happening, so I never stopped to wonder how this could all end.
Eva doesn't know where she belongs, until a wonderful twist in the tale - surprising but exactly right - resolves things beautifully.
And then I realised that I had read a good old-fashioned page turner.
A story of love, loss, adventure, tragedy, romance ... what more could you want?!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2011
Like other reviewers I have previously enjoyed Susanna Kearsley's books and I love the time slip element that she weaves into her stories. However I must confess that initially I did not find this book as easy to get into. The descriptions of places were great but I thought the characterisation wasn't quite up to her usual standard. I stuck with it and was pleased that I did as the book took off after Eva started returning to the past. I loved the character of Feargal who was an 18th century man with a definite 21st century sense of humour.
The best bit for me was near the end when the tory takes an unexpected turn which was perfect.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2011
There are some books that are so wonderful, so magical, you feel totally bereft when they end and you have to leave the characters and their world behind - this is definitely one of those! The author draws you into the story subtly, then weaves the strands of it together seamlessly with narrative and description that is simply perfect. I empathised with the heroine (and wished that I was her!), fell in love with the hero the moment he walked onto the page, and couldn't put the book down until I knew how it was going to end. The evocative Cornish setting is beautifully described and almost felt like a character in its own right, and the suspense of the story kept me enthralled and on tenterhooks. I really can't recommend this highly enough!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2011
Oh - alright - 4.75 stars :-)
When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs.
But Eva must also confront hte ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who lived there in the eighteenth century.
When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived long before she herself was born.
Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs.......
Whilst reading this, I kept on thinking I've read this book before. I had a look on Amazon, and though I'm not 100% sure I think this was published under the title ROSEHILL.
Anyhow, that doesn't matter as this was a great book. The only thing is, just like Marianna, I wanted just a little bit more story to round everything off. In my opinion this story could have done with an epilogue. So I've decided to add my own! Do not read anymore as it's bound to contain spoilers.
Here we go....................
Daniel gathered Eva in his arms. `I'm glad you're back' he said drawing her into his house and by his side forever.
Daniel and Eva lived long and prosperous lives They had 6 children - 2 boys and 4 girls. They lived in France for a while, then moved to Spain and lived there contentedly for many years. As relations between France and Spain became increasingly strained, they moved back to England with their children.
Daniel amassed a great fortune through `free trading' and operating many businesses. Advantageous matches were made for their children. One daughter even married a Duke who had no qualms that his wife's dowry, and she herself, came from `trade'.
Daniel and Eva never returned to Cornwall.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2013
For the readers that love to read about fantasy and suspense and put less interest on the romance part this book will not disappoint...for me though it lacked the spark and chemistry between the main leads. There is no denying that the author has gift with worlds and transforms them in a vivid almost poetic descriptions of landscapes and images surrounding the story. That being said, the author failed for me in her descriptions of our hero Danial Butler and our heroin Eva Ward..there was little to show the actual physical appearance of those characters and it affected my perception of them. The aspect of the time travel was not explained very convincingly and at times I questioned the actions and wondered where that come from?...some scenes were far from realistic, for example: it was unbelievable that Danial and Eve would fall in love with one another based on little interactions lacking in passion and deeper connection. Needles to say, I was captivated by this imaginative and creative world of time, magic and history that author cannot be faulted.
Some readers may find it very entertaining, but I was disappointed with the romance aspect of the story..it did not hold my attention as i would hope and for me it was quickly forgettable....but I recommend this book for those who love adventure and suspense.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I was so thrilled to find this one available on Kindle ahead of book release! If you're a lover of Barbara Erskine or Rachel Hore you're going to love this one too. A really well told story, slipping deftly between 18th century Cornwall, pirates and the Jacobite rebellion and a modern story of loss and love, this story entranced me from the beginning to its absolutely perfect ending. It takes a very skilful writer to handle a time-slip story like this without it seeming silly - disappearing from modern life and living in the past - but Susanna Kearsley is a mistress of her art and I absolutely loved every moment of it. Escapist bliss at its very best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2011
This is the first of Susanna Kearsley's novels I have read and I must say I really enjoyed it and will be searching out her previous works. It did take me a little while to get into the story but I soon became completely engrossed as Eva moved between the present and the 18th century time in Cornwall. Daniel Butler is a true romantic hero, strong and dependable, but also warm and loving. Eva was totally believable as the lost soul looking to find where she truly belongs after the death of her sister. The other characters added to the story beautifully - especially the wise Aunt Claire and Fergal as the supportive and cheerful Irishman from the past. The backdrop of smuggling in Cornwall and uprisings against the King also added excitement and drama to the story. I couldn't put this book down as I was desperate to find out what happened next and the twists and turns kept me enthralled to the end with all the loose ends neatly tied up. I didn't see how the story would finish at all, which is a sign of excellent writing.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
First Sentence: I lost my only sister in the last days of November.
After the death of her sister, Eva travels from Los Angeles to Cornwall, where they spent summers as children, to scatter her sister's ashes and find a bit of peace among old friends. She doesn't expect to, without any warning, find herself transported back to the 18th century, become involved with Jacobite supporters, smugglers and a man to whom she is very attracted. But traveling back-and-forth through time isn't easy--how does one explain jeans--and deciding where truly belongs is hardest of all.
Ms. Kearsley's very compelling voice and opening draw one into the story from the first sentence. She knows how to touch your emotions while offsetting that with wonderful situational, dry humor.
Ms. Kearsley is very good at giving you the sense of the paranormal with the normal. She shifts time in a way I've not previously encountered, which was both interesting and intriguing. However, the problem with writing time travel is developing a explanation for why it happens, and that was never convincingly done, as opposed to in her prior book "The Winter Sea. There is a very good sense of place and time and both periods of the story. Considering the limited locale in which she was working, this was significant to the enjoyment of the story. You are given a full sense of being there.
The plot was intriguing and well done with a fascinating and seamless incorporation of history into the story. ." Ms. Kearsley provided an interesting perspective on being in the past and knowing about those who had no idea they would be known through history. The book begins with shades of it being a gothic, but then moves into romance and was, at times, a bit trite, but with a very good plot twist at the end.
"The Rose Garden" is an enjoyable read but a bit disappointing as one has come to expect a bit more depth from Ms. Kearsley.
THE ROSE GARDEN (TT/Rom-Eva-Cornwall, England-Cont/1700s) - Good
Kearsley, Susanna - Standalone
Allison & Busby Ltd, ©2011, UK Trade Paperback - ISBN: 9780749009519