The Tea Rose
By Jennifer Donnelly
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312288358, 560pp.)
Publication Date: October 2002
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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, a bright and defiant young woman dares to dream of a life beyond tumbledown wharves, gaslit alleys, and the grim and crumbling dwellings of the poor.
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 dreams are shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death at the dark man's hands, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit-and the ghosts of her past-propel her rise from a modest west side shopfront to the top of Manhattan's tea trade.
Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, however, 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 Tea Rose is a towering old-fashioned story, imbued with a modern sensibility, of a family's destruction, of murder and revenge, of love lost and won again, and of one determined woman's quest to survive and triumph.
Authentic and moving, The Tea Rose is an unforgettable novel-one certain to take its place beside such enduring epics as A Woman of Substance, The Thornbirds, and The Shell Seekers.
Jennifer Donnelly writes books for children and adults. She lives in Brooklyn and Callicoon, New York, with her husband and two greyhounds. She has a passion for tea and roses.
"When you start reading Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose give yourself plenty of time because this is a most seductive novel. You will travel from the rough, often savage, back streets of London to the glossy sophistication of New York's Fifth Avenue. You'll be charmed by the novel's heroine, Fiona Finnegan-her intelligence, her courage, her great heart. Despite her suffering-a lost love, a tragic family-there are moments you will want to cheer. It's the kind of novel where the writing is so fluid you feel the author simply loves telling her story. This is a splendid heartwarming novel of pain, struggle, decency, triumph-and just what we need in these times." -Frank McCourt
"I loved this vividly atmospheric and wonderfully rumbustious yarn-brilliantly told, great fun to read." -Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman
"Bold, brisk, and beguiling. The Tea Rose is splendid brew of a book." -Samuel H. G. Twining, LVO, OBE, director of Twinings Tea
"The Tea Rose is the kind of book that calls for a rainy day, a cozy chair, and a good, steaming cup of tea. It's strong and satisfying, with a taste that lingers in the memory." -Paula Cohen, author of Gramercy Park
"Steeped in melodrama, revenge and a maddeningly star-crossed romance, The Tea Rose is a fine yarn." --People
"An ambitious tale of love, betrayal, murder, revenge and triumph. . . . Full of warmth and rich period detail, The Tea Rose begs for a comfy, overstuffed chair and plenty of time to keep turning those pages." --Dallas Morning News