One of the authors I truly enjoy reading at present, Susanna Kearsley seems to go back often to her favorite themes: time travel and the Jacobites. It's been noted, and I shared the opinion after I read The Winter Sea, that her writings almost echo the voice of du Maurier and Mary Stewart, which made me check her out in the first place as the latter two are favorite authors.
Regardless of the familiar route of her novels, she is still able to pull up a wonderful surprise and create another engaging tale that is warm and moving. Yet again, Kearsley does twists like a punch in the gut and leaves me quite breathless.
Set in a manor by the Cornish coast, her lyrical descriptions, garden-tearoom-atmosphere and historical background compliment the touching story of a woman seeking a place where she belongs and in fact discovers something much more.
I was glad I had forgotten the premise of the book. It was more thrilling in a sense, albeit the Jacobite upheavals aren't new to me. There was no hurry to pin down the hero since I had no clue which of them he was (and I enjoyed that tentative moment of speculating). I almost confused the possible pairings till the story took off into solid ground. The author places the romance of the story in a subdued yet tasteful way, almost like an afterthought but when looked upon closely it is that which everything else boils down to.
As it deals with time travel, I ought to suspend disbelief altogether. But then, I find Kearsley sometimes attempts to pin things down to science at one point (as shown also in The Winter Sea). And I am not sure it actually sits well with the flavor of the story. For I know there's just something magical going on, within and outside of the characters. She makes it easy to just get lost in the magic.
Nevertheless, the adventures, historical details, the lovely scenic spots and the emotional journey of oneself make this book a great read.
Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.
But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs.
Title: The Rose Garden
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Genre: Historical, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ ( 4 cups - Kearsley always delivers a solid story and unforgettable characters.)