Book Reviews

Book Review: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Hey there!

I hope that you guys are doing well. I’m coming down from a hellacious night of a stomach bug, which has resulted in the world’s greatest headache. Luckily I have great support in Liam’s grandma, because she was able to keep him overnight so he doesn’t catch whatever yuckies I had!

As a result, I don’t have anything super exciting to share (but really, my life consists of books, horses, my dog, and my child) except for another book review!


I’m going to admit, that this book had a bit of a slower start for me. I borrowed it from the library about a month ago, started it, and then put it down for a while. I can’t really tell you why it didn’t grab me from the beginning, because it was good!

I ended up having to purchase another copy from Amazon to replace the library book (thanks Bogan) and they accidentally shipped me two. I figured it was a sign, so after I finished Cinder I picked it back up. Goodness, I’m glad that I did!

This book is a historical drama/romance and while I don’t think that it was book that had a ton of substance, I still really liked the story. I loved that Fiona got put through the ringer and came out completely on top.


I also loved all the support characters, especially Nicolas Soames. I really feel like we all need a Nicolas in our lives. I fell in love with him the minute that he walked into the book, and the way that Donnelly used his character to direct the plot was genius. There were a few twists and turns that were heart wrenching but necessary and kept me turning the pages way past my bedtime. I found myself not wanting the book to end, and when it did I was I super excited that there were two more in the series.

I had recommended this book to my mother and she ended up picking up the second book, The Winter Rose, on accident. She said that it was a great stand alone! From the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads this seems like a common theme with all three of the novels, so if you’re not able to get your hands on this one right away, any will do!


I did feel a little bit like Donnelly was way too easy on Joe. I felt like the things that he did, should not have warranted the wealth that he eventually built for himself. I would have really like to see Fiona find him in misery… buuut that’s just me being a bit petty.still couldn’t forgive Joe, but I’ve also been known to hold a bit of a grudge that is directed towards fictional characters.

Donnelly uses the setting of 1880’s Whitechapel, London to add the legend of Jack the Ripper into her work. I’m not really sure why she did that, perhaps to add a bit of mystery?  Having read a myriad of Jack the Ripper-esque books this year, I’ve seen authors take it in so many different directions. I feel like Donnelly could have done a lot more with this; it was sort of there, and then gone, and then WHAM… in your face again. I kind of gave it a raised eyebrow, but it wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to a piece of fiction (here’s looking at you, Twilight).

All in all, while I think that this one could have had a little bit more substance and the Jack the Ripper inclusion was a little bit weak and unnecessary, I honestly loved it. I would happily read it over and over again when I needed an escape from reality. I feel like now that I’ve read it through once, I would dissolve into their world quickly. It’s going to stay on my bookshelf for sure!