Finally finished The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I really enjoyed this Victorian Novel. It was an ambitious undertaking. There were many side stories, but they all linked to the protagonist Fiona Finnegan. Fiona grows up in Whitechapel, London an area well known for crime, and poverty. Her parents are Irish immigrants trying to feed their family on a dock workers wages.
The story begins when Fiona is a teenage in love with the boy next door, Joe Bristowe. Fiona and Joe have big plans, they are saving to one day open a shop together. They scrimp and save what they can after their contributions to the family budget. The year is 1888 a time of workers unrest and the birth of Unions. Things are heating up all over the place in Whitechapel with the strikes, mobs and Jack the Ripper preying on poor prostitutes. Fiona begins to feel that her life isn't as secure as she thought. In a matter of months she loses both parents, her elder brother and even the love of her life Joe to another woman. One night she overhears a brutal secret putting her life in serious danger. She must flee with her younger brother to America to live with her Uncle. On her voyage across the ocean she meets a young man who is also fleeing England and his family. They develop a life long friendship and together they begin their lives in a new country with new identities. Fiona grows into a beautiful, savvy, and tough woman. No one is going to mess with her or her family. She is determined to bring justice to those who hurt her family, she will do all in her power to achieve this. She never forgets about Joe Bristowe, even in the arms of a handsome, brilliant man worth millions who adores her.
The story goes back and forth between London and New York. Just when you thought you figured it out you are in for a surprise. If you loved Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford you will love Tea Rose. It's a big book but a fast read.
The week link in the story was Jack the Ripper, in my opinion that part could of been totally left out and no one would have missed it. I am not a fan of re-writing historical events. There are other ways of incorporating the facts. Other than that it was a great read, not really thought provoking, but very entertaining and romantic. I look forward to reading the sequel Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.
I give this book 4 royal crowns out of 5.