93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic, heart-rending page turner with surprisingly complex underlying themes,
This review is from: The Midnight Rose (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Lucinda Riley's novels. As a rule, I'm not an habitual purchaser of this genre of historical family sagas, so the fact that I nevertheless devour her books and pounce on them as soon as they are published, might say something about how very good and potentially 'genre-busting' they are...
I was a bit worried, having enjoyed her previous novels so much, that The Midnight Rose might not live up to the high standard set, I was thinking (perhaps unkindly) it might be cashing in on the author's recent fame ... but it absolutely DID deliver the goods and more!
The plotting, as always, is superb, weaving between the decades with huge skill and assurance. The sections on India in the days of the British Raj are incredibly evocative and so well-researched, I was transported there in an instant. After reading The Midnight Rose, I recently overheard an interview with the author by the BBC Radio presenter Nikki Bedi, who is half-Indian herself - she remarked on how authentic the dialogue of the Indian characters sounded, and I totally agree! I also found the setting of Astbury Hall - which is being used as a film set in the modern-day parts of the book -- highly atmospheric.
All the characters past and present are mesmerising, I believed in their story arcs and became completely involved with them. I won't go into detail of the plot as I don't want to give too much away, and I'm sure other reviewers will cover the basics better than me. Suffice to say, the whole thing works beautifully on one level as a captivating story. But what I personally found particularly compelling is the way the book blends romantic fiction with some quite complex themes - yet all done without ramming them down your throat. The emotional and sociological issues that are highlighted in the book - such as racial prejudice, the pressures of family relationships, class boundaries, the nature of love, the pitfalls of wealth/celebrity, etc - are universally relevant, even in the present day. It is this element that in my opinion gives the novel a real added depth, beyond the wonderful, lush descriptions and the ingenious plot. Loved it, loved it, loved it and could not recommend more highly.