Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly is My DIK Reading Challenge book

The Tea Rose: A NovelInnocent heroine: I can't pay the rent!
Villainous Landlord:  You must pay the rent!
Innocent heroine:  I can't pay the rent!  sigh, Woe is me!
Villainous Landlord:  Then I will do dastardly things to you..muuaahhhh!
Innocent heroine:  Oh no you won't.  I am going to run away and be miraculously assisted by strange and handsome men who think my eyes are the most innocent and amazing blue they have ever seen!  Then I will return an heiress and ruin you!
Villainous Landlord:  I will hunt you down and kill you but only after I ravish you in a most heinous and vile manner!

I loved watching Dudley DoRight and Penelope Purebread battle wits against Dick Dastardly as a kid.  One of my most favorite guilty pleasures as an adult is the soap opera  "Days of Our Lives."  This month's DIK Reading Challenge offering is right up there with these tried and true melodramas.  "Tea Rose" was on Sarai's choices in the book list over at DIK.  It was right there on the shelf in the library just waiting for me to pick it up and so I did.

The story is set in the late 1800's in the Whitechapel section of London.  The Ripper is busy doing his thing.  Enter the Finnegans and the Bristows.  Irish families doing the best they can raising their respective families on pittance a day.  The Finnegans are led by the Da who works on the docks.  Charlie the son kicks in with money from his work while young Fiona helps out with her wages as a tea packer.  Mam, who is raising two more small ones, helps by doing laundry.  Their neighbors and lifelong friends have a son who is the love of Fiona's life. Joe is a handsome young devil who could sell ice to Eskimos.  Joe and Fiona plan to open their own shop and marry as soon as they have raised enough cash to open their place.  William Burton is the man who owns the tea factory where Da and Fiona work.  He is a greedy, shifty and dangerous man.

  Now you have the back story and the rest is high melodrama.  Da becomes an outspoken advocate for the unions and is killed in a supposed accident.  Joe is lured away from his vegetable cart by a wealthy merchant who sees his potential as a salesman and who has a daughter who sees his potential as a sexy mate.  Joe explains that he is only going to work for the man to earn their shop faster but Fiona knows better and he ends up getting the daughter pregnant.  Mam is killed by the Ripper while trying to get the baby to the doctor's and Charlie runs off in grief only to be found drifting face down in the Thames.  He is beaten so badly the only way to identify him is by the pocket watch his Da gave him on his death bed. Fiona runs to America with Seamie after overhearing Burton bragging about killing her Da.  She manages to get a hold of some of Burton’s money and helped aboard an Amerca bound ship.

Are you tired yet? I was and this was only the first 100 pages.

“Tea Rose is a classic high melodrama romance in the style of Barbara Taylor Bradford and Barbara Cartland.  The heroine is constantly escaping one tragedy to only find herself in another pickle.  She is ALWAYS rescued by a handsome stranger and even though she becomes involved with other men she will never be out of love with her first, Joe.  She ALWAYS overcomes with a positive attitude and a quick wit, ala, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
The Winter Rose
I did enjoy this story.  It was a real change of pace from the paranormal and heavy suspense genres I have been reading lately.  It took me back to my early romance reading days when I yearned for a perfect love like the girls I was reading about.  Now that I am older, wiser and a little more jaded “Tea Rose” was an overly sweet treat that is delicious in very small amounts.
There is a sequel to “Tea Rose” called “The Winter Rose” and I do plan on reading it some day, just not very soon.


Mame Burkett said...

I can't seem to figure out how to link to DIK's reading challenge so I am adding the URL to this comment.
Check out the other reviews posted:

Tracy said...

Holy Mackeral! Talk about melodrama. That sounds like one book I'll pass on. I loved your review though. I, too, used to love Dudley DoRight!

Mame Burkett said...

Thanks Tracy!

~ames~ said...

I read and absolutely loved the Winter Rose. I still think about that book and I read it over 2 years ago. I can't wait for the Wild Rose to be released.

Now that being said, I enjoyed your review and I will definitely have to read this one. :P

Mame Burkett said...

Thanks for your comment ames! It is so cool you enjoyed Winter Rose. One of the things I enjoy so much about reading is talking about the books. Please let me know what you think of Wild Rose when it comes out!