Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Bites (1): Susanna Kearsley - The Rose Garden

Welcome to the first edition of Saturday Bites! This'll be a feature where I cover a) some of the books I read recently that I cannot provide a full review of, for whatever reason, or b) books I read before starting the blog that I want to talk about.

This week, I'm going to talk about The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley.

The Rose Garden is a historical fiction-time travel romance by Susanna Kearsley. It's not my usual genre, which is why I'm not giving it a full review, but I have to say that I really loved this. The main character, Eva, travels to Cornwall, England, to scatter her sister's ashes after her death. However, strange things begin to happen in her family's homestead; she finds herself slipping back in time to 1715, falling in with smugglers and inadvertently getting caught up in treason.

There's an element of nostalgia that pervades the entire book -- Eva re-bonds with old friends and family. Her family reaches out to her, and she returns the favor, helping them install a tea room for tourists in order to prevent the house from going under. The setting is vivid, and I could perfectly imagine myself on a rocky beach on the seaside, listening to gulls. And while I was skeptical at first, the romance was my favorite aspect of the book. Eva's relationship with Daniel Butler blooms slowly, with no declarations until at least halfway through the book.

I've seen it described as Outlander meets The Time Traveler's Wife, and while I can see similarities to both books, I enjoyed this more than either of those. Kearsley's prose, characters, and atmosphere totally enraptured me, and I can't wait to read more by her.

Memorable Quotes: "The tide was out. Along the closer edges of the harbor all the smaller boats lay drunkenly tipped over on their hulls in the wet mud, still at their moorings while they waited for the sea's return."

"'You are glad that you came,' he said. 'You, who have seen and done things I can scarcely imagine; you, who have freedoms in your time the women of mine cannot contemplate. Doubtless you thought that this voyage would be an adventure, and yet you have spent this day shut in a cabin alone and in fear for your life, and you say you are glad that you came. You'll forgive me,' he said, 'if I do not believe you.'"

Verdict: 4 stars. Recommended for those who want a comfort read, even if they're not usually fans of this particular genre. 

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