East London, 1888 – a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger’s son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona’s life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan’s tea trade. But Fiona’s old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.
The start of a trilogy, The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly was definitely worth the read! I usually like quick, light reads, so I wasn’t sure when I picked this one up. I wasn’t hooked immediately, but I’m glad I stuck with it. I loved the characters, especially the ones who appeared a little later in the book. The historical aspect of it was fascinating, and I love that the main character was a woman out of her time (not literally, there is no time travel).
I definitely recommend it. All the pieces weave together to make a great read!