One thing I loved about going to England was the TEA! Tea time was wonderful, I looked forward to it every afternoon. We had tea at the Orangery, at Jane Austen's Tea Room in Bath, Tea in Cornwall and Stafford Upon Avon. Yummy sandwiches, little cakes and scones with a big pot of aromatic tea. Wish I was there now! So I guess it wouldn't be any surprise that I was attracted to this book Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I was browsing around Amy's Passage's of the Past and found this recommendation. Looked so good I ordered it from B&N. Haven't been able to put it down since it arrived. I'm about 1/2 through now and looking forward to reading the sequel Winter Rose.
It's not about royalty, but it is about Whitechapel, London in 1888 at the time of Jack the Ripper. Victorian mystery type of tale. It reminds me a great deal of Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford except with a younger mysterious twist. Fiona Finnegan and Joe Bristowe fall in love as children in the slums of Whitechapel. They grow-up with dreams of one day owning their own shop. A Tea Shoppe with the best tea in London. Fiona works for a Tea Broker and Joe is a grocer. They save their money in a little tin hidden under the bed. All is going very well until a series of tragic events takes place, illness, betrayal, murder, death and even Jack the Ripper.
Fiona and Joe's life are changed forever. A wonderful dream has now turned into a nightmare with an ocean separating them.
Whitechapel District in London during the Victorian Era has always been fascinating. The foggy mists from the Thames, the corrupt cops, dock workers, prostitutes, work houses, etc. The era of Sherlock Holmes. Whitechapel is still not a place I would want to visit after dark. Not so much the slum it used to be, but some rough looking characters to be sure.
One of the most famous Victorian characters from Whitechapel was Jack the Ripper. Who hasn't heard of him. Since reading Tea Rose I have been doing some research on the guy and came across this website:http://www.casebook.org/. Very interesting facts about Jack. You can read the newspaper articles written in 1888 about the murders. Bio's of the victims and the suspects are all on there. Even maps showing where the murders happened. It is very interesting reading the website author has done an amazing job of research and chronicling the events. I didn't know much about him but I do now. I will warn you there are some very graphic photos of the victims so beware of that. After researching the site I was a little disappointed that the author of Tea Rose, Ms. Donnelly didn't use one of the actual victims in her book, instead she created a new one and that was kind of a weak link, but not enough for me not to enjoy the book thoroughly.