Review: The Rose Garden

TITLE: The Rose Garden
AUTHOR: Susanna Kearsley
PUBLICATION: 2011 by Sourcebooks
FORMAT: Paperback


Eva finds herself plunged into mourning for the death of her sister Katrina. When Katrina’s husband gives Eva the ashes to spread in a place that made her sister truly happy there is only one place that could be. However, there are more than just the ghosts of her own past to be found at the sisters’ childhood summer retreat in Cornwall.


I do not remember where I found a glowing review in regards to this book, but it piqued my interests enough that I placed a hold on it through my library’s loan system. Some of the books I checked out during my last trip to the library didn’t enrapture me even after fifty or one hundred pages, but I thought I might read a chapter or two of The Rose Garden and get a feel for the writing. While it didn’t immediately hook me with a rich prose the way I recently felt with The Night Circus, I felt myself strangely drawn into Eva’s world of grief as I learned how she lost her only sister in the last days of November.

I want to point out that this book is about time travel. Books on this subject seem to be hit and miss with me.  I’m assuming that this would appeal to fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Outlander (although I’ve read neither book so it’s just a guess) because of the heavy romantic element that is present in the book. I have read romance novels that involve the idea of time travel, like Lynn Kurland’s, but I’m left feeling a bit mixed when it comes to The Rose Garden. I did enjoy this book during the first half and expected I would give it a higher rating because Kearsley’s writing possessed a rather poetic flow at times.  Although it seemed to lose something for me as Eva was becoming more obsessed with Daniel, and I think it kind of started when she realized that she was in love with him. Up until that point the novel didn’t seem to be too focused on their romance, it just seemed to blossom as a matter of course while Eva is trying to help Claire, Mark, and Susan make improvements to the manor so it remains in the family. That’s not to say that it is a bad thing, but it just didn’t work so well for me. I’m thinking that it’s the whole time travel aspect that doesn’t do it for me when it comes to this novel. Again that is just my own personal taste.

So often I find myself annoyed by the romantic leads in novels that I either give up on the book or read to the end and find myself wishing that I hadn’t. However, I found myself kind of liking Daniel Butler and Eva Ward. Are they my favorite? No. Yet they’re not too bad when all things are said and done. Their relationship felt kind of cozy at times. Although I find myself wondering just how Eva wins Fergal’s regard. Have I forgotten or was it just too subtle? Daniel keeps reminding her that his friend’s trust is not easily won, but I don’t know how she received it. At some point it started to feel more like historical romances with Creed playing the role of the antagonistic force that just might keep the hero and heroine from having everlasting happiness, but we know how those books end, don’t we?

I wasn’t blown away by Kearsley’s novel, but it wasn’t a bad way to pass the time. I would probably give something else written by her a chance if I came across something interesting. If you like books about modern women finding true love centuries before their own time, this would probably be the book for you. I wanted to like it more, but it did not happen for me.  If you have an interest in reading it, I would recommend finding it at the library.



3 thoughts on “Review: The Rose Garden

  1. I had no idea this was also about time travel! I have to admit that I didn’t like The Time Traveller’s Wife at all (I’m very much in the minority), so perhaps this wouldn’t be the book for me. It has a beautiful cover though.

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