Book Review: The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

the winter roseThe Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Release Date: January 1st, 2006
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 736
Price: $16.00

“Her grey eyes sparkled with passion as she spoke. Sid looked into them and for a second he glimpsed her soul. He saw what she was – fierce and brave. Upright. Impatient. And good. So good that she would sit covered in gore, shout at dangerous men, and keep a long, lonely vigil – all to save the likes of him. He realized she was a rare creature, as rare as a rose in winter.”

India Selwyn Jones has a mission. In 1900 England, she plans to open a clinic for all those suffering and poor in the East End. Having just graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women, India is privy to the privileges she has kept most of her life. Yearning to make a difference, India refuses warnings and advice that heeds her to take root in a medical facility in a fashionable neighborhood. It is here that she meets the infamous Sid Malone, one of London’s most notorious gangsters who dapples in everything from opium dens to gun shipments. He is rich with money, power, but most of all secrets from his past that haunt him.

It is with Sid that India becomes enchanted, along with life in East End and with the idea that she could help save lives along the way. It isn’t just India who feels a magnetic pull towards Sid, but he feels it too, worrying that she would throw away her dreams or worse end up in the center of one of his messes. When loyalties are tested and villains emerge, India and Sid have to choose to save themselves, each other, or their dreams.

Unbeknownst to me, this is the second book in the Tea Rose series by Donnelly. I purchased it several years ago, but it sounded like a standalone book. I wasn’t confused really by anything that was hinted at, I was really able to dive right in and understand what was happening and who these characters really were. Donnelly is one of those authors that I continuously come back to. The first book I read of hers was a wonderful YA book called The Northern Light, it was my first introduction to the idea that I could be a writer and it made me love literature and words with such a fierce passion. In a way, that book started my identity and my journey as an author and a writer. Her characters are always wonderful and achingly heartbreaking. India felt so tangible, such a modern woman in a time when woman were still show pieces and breeders. She had such bravery and intelligence. She gave all of herself to her craft and to her dreams, but most of all she never stopped believing in something better. Sid *sigh* he was a heart stealer. He had this tough exterior that I wanted to crack and when I was let inside, I was surprised to find the heart and the soul of a young boy who had shut out the world long ago. I was enveloped in these characters and I felt so close to them. Donnelly will always get high praise from me.

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