Most helpful positive review
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2008
The Winter Rose, a sequel to The Tea Rose, is a simply stunning tale of family drama, politics, and medicine at the turn of the last century. Ms. Donnelly brings back familiar characters such as Fiona and Joe, and adds newer ones that equally enthrall. Long and densely written, this is a book you will not want to put down and one that will stay with you for a very long time.
The scene opens on India Selwyn Jones's graduation from medical school in 1900. Full of idealistic notions, India chooses to forestall marriage to Freddie Lytton while she pursues clinical help in the lower classes of Whitechapel. India isn't marrying Freddie for love, though she is fond of him, but his reasons are much more nefarious. Naive and determined, India is shocked when she has to treat the notorious gangster Sid Malone. As Sid's life hangs in the balance, the two share their stories and eventually become lovers. At the same time as their story is unfolding, Joe Bristow decides it is time for him to go into politics, and his life takes a nasty turn at the hands of Sid. Or was it Sid? The story moves at a fast clip and keeps the characters entangled with lots of coincidences and near-misses. How the path to happiness develops for India, Joe, Fiona, and Sid will keep you turning the pages. The introduction of Seamie, Fiona's younger brother, and his adventurous spirit, help set the stage for a third entry in the series sometime in the future.
This is a fabulous book with larger than life characters. It is satisfying in its ability to bring the reader into the story and it will make you care deeply for every person and situation. It is indeed a tour de force, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend to those who love family sagas, historical fiction, and plain good storytelling. Highly, highly recommended.