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The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (thoughts)

November 8, 2011

I began reading Susanna Kearsley in January of this year, after seeing Marg praise her to the skies. And here I am, eight months later, having read four of her books without blogging about any of them! Trust me, this is not for lack of enthusiasm: I just adored The Shadowy Horses, my first experience with her, and every book I’ve read since has confirmed that she is one of my new go-to comfort authors. Unfortunately, her back list is a bit difficult to get ahold of (I’m hoping that changes as she becomes more popular), so when I saw her latest book, The Rose Garden, available on Netgalley I jumped on it. And y’all, I loved this! As much as Shadowy Horses, even (and far more than The Winter Sea, which honestly is my least favourite of the four I’ve read, although it’s still good).

While Kearsley’s Canadian, she seems to have a strong affection for the British Isles, particularly the romantic, wind-swept corners. The Rose Garden is set in Cornwall, and the location is really the third main character. Much like du Maurier, Kearsley takes advantage of the romantic aspects of its smuggling past, with some fun seafaring bits. I’m a sucker for a good ship scene! Have I mentioned that the main character’s name is Eva? And that there’s time travelling? As you can see, it’s almost as if this book was designed to win me over. ;)

And win me over it did! Because in addition to its ‘on-paper’ qualities, it’s just a wonderful book. Kearsley has a solid writing style that perfectly complements her two strongest features (and the reasons I love her): believable, likeable characters and a strong sense of place. These happen to be two of the most important aspects of fiction for me, which probably explains why she’s become one of my go-to authors in such a short period of time. I just love her heroines (my primary complaint about The Winter Sea is that the contemporary storyline doesn’t get as much ‘air-time’ as the historical one, and I really wanted to spend more pages with the modern heroine), and it’s so nice to know from the start that their lives will work out in the end. I highly, highly recommend The Rose Garden (and Kearsley in general, but this is an excellent place to start) to anyone who enjoys a good story with a vivid setting and memorable characters. And if you’re in need of a well-written comfort read, run to your library or bookstore to get your hands on a copy!

Finally, a quick note for those who worry that ‘romance’ is synonymous with smut: rest assured that Kearsley doesn’t write explicit scenes. The most description we get is of the kisses…otherwise, the bedroom door remains firmly shut. ;)

Suggested Companion Reads

29 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2011 6:12 am

    Wow! I want to read this now. Once you mentioned smuggling and Cornwall, I was smitten. I shall see if I can get it on Net Galley.

  2. November 8, 2011 6:21 am

    This sounds wonderful, and I l just love the books you compared it too! I’ll also see if I can get a hold of it on NetGalley. My main comfort author discovery this year is Eva Ibbotson, but it would be wonderful to add someone else to the list.

    • November 8, 2011 6:23 am

      compared it *TO :P

      • November 9, 2011 10:41 am

        I already said this on Twitter, but I still haven’t read any Ibbotson! I’ll have to correct that soon. :)

  3. November 8, 2011 6:36 am

    I hadn’t heard of this author before but now I’m interested! Maybe I’ll try to get this one on NetGalley too. :)

  4. November 8, 2011 6:36 am

    I received a surprise ARC of this book and I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but after reading all the glowing reviews I can’t wait to find time for it. And it’s refreshing when there’s romance that doesn’t turn into a scene of TMI! ;) Great review!

  5. November 8, 2011 9:11 am

    Oh this sounds lovely. Glad there’s noting x-rated. ;O)

    • November 9, 2011 10:42 am

      I felt a bit silly adding in the disclaimer, but I know it’s important to some people! lol

  6. November 8, 2011 10:20 am

    I really love Susanna Kearsley. I am glad you are enjoying her books! I have read them all but one, but since she is Canadian I think she is a bit easier to come by here. The libraries have pretty much everything she has written and I see her at the second-hand book store all the time.

    • November 9, 2011 10:43 am

      Um, I’m super jealous! Finally your library has books mine doesn’t. :p I’ll have to come up to Canada to haunt the used bookstores!

  7. November 8, 2011 11:00 am

    Just want to say that as a fellow Texan writer, I enjoy every single one of your “y’all”s! They really warm the tone.

  8. November 8, 2011 11:04 am

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about this author. I’m going to try harder to pick up this book soon.

  9. November 8, 2011 11:50 am

    It sounds like I need to check out Kearsley’s work!

  10. November 8, 2011 12:25 pm

    Oooooo … can you hear me squealing from this distance? I will definitely be tracking this one down. I love, love, love stories with a strong sense of place. And thank you for the reminder to dig out my copies of The Blue Castle and The Little Country. I am in dire need of some comfort reading so your post is very timely!

  11. November 8, 2011 1:50 pm

    I am so glad that you loved this book, and that Susanna Kearsley is now one of your go to favourite authors!

    You have touched on the four books that are my favourite Kearsley’s so far, although for me The Winter Sea is still right up there with the others. It maybe because it was my first Kearsley and so will always hold my favourite.

    I have to ask, did you gasp out loud at the twist at the end? I literally gasped when it happened but it makes perfect sense!

    • November 9, 2011 10:49 am

      I’m so glad you had me try her! I guessed the twist, but I was excited I was right. :) Shadowy Horses was my first, so maybe you’re on to something re: favourites.

  12. FleurFisher permalink
    November 8, 2011 3:34 pm

    I’m so pleased you liked this. I had a not wholly rational prejudice against Susanna Kearsley because she was the author I was reading when I developed an eye problem that stopped me reading for a while. But, like you, I read much praise and so I picked this up when it appeared in the library last week.

    • November 9, 2011 10:50 am

      I have similar prejudices against certain authors so I understand! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. :)

  13. November 8, 2011 4:12 pm

    Sounds like a really great new find Eva. Thanks for letting us know to check her out :)

  14. Ruthiella permalink
    November 8, 2011 5:22 pm

    Ok, Goodreads “recommended” that I read The Winter Sea…and now this review, what serindipity! I will check Susanna Kearsley out!

  15. November 8, 2011 8:30 pm

    I have The Winter Sea on my shelf somewhere. I should see if I can get this one from Netgalley though.

  16. November 9, 2011 8:12 am

    I really can’t decide if this is a book for me or not…perhaps I ought to be brave and find out, huh? Btw, the last sentence of your post made me giggle aloud.

    • November 9, 2011 10:50 am

      Glad I could make you giggle! :) I think you’ll know w/in the first chapter if it’s for you, so do give it a try. If you’re in need of some soothing comfort reading, I think it’s got potential!

  17. November 11, 2011 11:40 am

    I love DuMaurier so any comparison to her writing piques my interest!

  18. November 17, 2011 7:34 pm

    Mm, time travel! Not all time travel books are great, but I do love it when they work! I don’t think I’d heard of this author before, so thanks for the recommendation!


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