The Rose of Sebastopol, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (8 ratings)

Description

The Ukraine, Russia and the Crimea are taking centre stage in the world today but this spellbinding story of courage and love takes us back to the original Crimean war.Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men.

In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can. For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from Henry, her fiance, a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns.

When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him.

But upon their arrival at his lodgings, she and her maid make a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared.

Following the trail of her elusive and captivating cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol.

As she ventures deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, Mariella's ordered world begins to crumble and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness and love.

Information

Other Formats

£8.99

£7.85

 
Free Home Delivery

on all orders

 
Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Reviews

Showing 1 - 5 of 8 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by
2

This is one of those books that makes you want to slap a character for being an idiot. Unfortunately, it's not just one character here, it's every last one of them. I want to slap narrator Mariella in hope that she might grow a rudimentary spine and take a look at reality. I want to slap Rosa for being fixated on her ideal so intently that very nearly every last thing she does is thoughtless, dangerous and frankly stupid. Henry is smug and self-satisfied, except when he's being pathetic and self-pitying. The itch to administer therapeutic slappings persists throughout, right up until a mere handful of pages short of the rather 'yes, and then what?' finish. You'd rather have expected Mariella's wake-up call to have been a bit sooner than that, given the circumstances.It's not badly written. It's just the blasted characters; I would not have been sorry to see the lot of them wiped out wholesale. On the whole, then, not a win.

Review by
2.5

This is a romance story set in the crimean war with a particular interest in looking at the changes in medicine and nursing during this period of history. I found it hard to identify with any of the characters in this book and did not feel for them, which made it hard to really enjoy the story. I did find the medicine parts interesting though.

Review by
4.5

Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men. In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can. For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from Henry, her fiance, a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns. When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him. But upon their arrival at his lodgings, she and her maid make a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared. Following the trail of her elusive and captivating cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol. As she ventures deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, Mariella's ordered world begins to crumble and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness and love.This is the first book I have read by Katharine McMahon, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was convincing and engaging. At no point was I bored or struggling to continue. McMahon writes in a wonderful way, with humour, description and character. I easily slipped into the story and felt I was there.The story does jump between different locations and years, but I did not find this troubling, in fact I feel it enhanced the story. It was fascinating to read about how people at home viewed the war, how to them it was only a small part of their lives and how they thought it should go, compared to what was actually happening out there.I didn't have a favourite character, all of them touched me. I did find Mariella a touch selfish though. She managed to make the whole war centre around her, amazing! I was happy with the way most characters developed and how the story ended. I did guess what the ending was going to be, but it was still sad and a satisfying finish.I was left asking a few questions, but overall I really enjoyed this book.9/10

Review by
2.5

The Rose of Sebastopol is a novel set against the backdrop of the Crimean War. The three main characters are Mariella, our over-sheltered narrator; Henry, her fiancé, who goes off to the Crimean War as a doctor; and Rosa, Mariella’s idealistic cousin and best friend, whose progressive ideas lead her to become a nurse in the Crimea with Florence Nightingale. When Rosa goes missing, Mariella goes off in search of her cousin, encountering a very sick Henry along the way.The historical detail is top-notch, but I had a slight problem with the characters: Rosa is a little too modern, and Mariella is a little boring, though I realize that McMahon may have made her so on purpose for historical accuracy. The constant references to skirts, petticoats, and corsets were a little too intrusive, and I believe that if a real 19th century woman had been narrating, she wouldn’t have even mentioned her clothes, much less her underclothes. It’s almost as though McMahon wanted to say, “look, look, I did my research!”In addition, the non-linear narrative is jumpy, and the novel doesn’t truly get interesting until Mariella goes to the Crimea. But even then, I thought the entire journey in the first place was a little out of character for Mariella, who seems to be the kind of person who would normally put a lot of thought into something before doing it. Also, the ending is a little rushed and inconclusive, and the book could have used a better editor (for some reason the author, or her proofreader, is afraid of commas). But other than that, I enjoyed the story and the historical details.

Review by
3

This turned out to be a very disappointing book. There were so many elements that should have made it work from its rich historical setting, to the war going on and the general human dynamics that were taking place. But it fell short in both plot, execution and will win prizes for unsatisfying endings if they give out such awards. Mariella is the quiet and dutiful daughter who is the complete opposite of her cousin Rosa who she spends a very memorable summer with when they were little girls. It is their lifelong friendship and devotion to each other that sets the basis of this book. With the 1854 Crimean war in full swing, Rosa and Mariella's fiance, Henry, set off to do their part in the war effort. Though Mariella remains home that will soon change due to the illness of her fiance and Rosa going missing. Mariella sets off in search of both and supposedly discovers a strength that she never knew she had in being able to withstand the rigors of war and the grief of loss. The author managed to create characters who were hard to relate to or truly like. Rosa is held up as this revolutionary who wants to change the face of nursing, one woman at a time. I have to say that I personally could not stand her and her know it all attitude and quite frankly found her to be reckless and dangerous. Her idealism while admirable in the beginning was annoying after awhile. She wanted the whole world to adopt her notions of how things should play out and when that did not happen, she lost patience and moved on. I found Mariella's journey into a war torn region to find her cousin to be so unrealistic that it was almost funny. It would be one thing to have a man going into the war zone to find his loved one but a young woman doing same armed only with her maid is just ridiculous and unrealistic. And please lets not even mention the smug, I-am-so-great-cause-I am-a-doctor, Henry. What a piece of work he turned out to be. The only character I ended up liking was Max Stukeley and he was not even a major character. The ending was just as bizarre as the rest if the story. I thought I had bought a copy that lost its last chapter and had to go online to make sure of the number of pages in order for me to know that that was indeed the end. It was abrupt and felt like the author had stepped away to get a glass of water and her publisher came in and stole the manuscript before she could conclude. The writing was good but the unlikable characters made the book feel like a chore and by the end I was racing to the end so it could be over and I could read something else.

  Previous  |  Next

Also by Katharine McMahon   |  View all