The Rose Garden, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own.

For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century.

When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.


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Review by

I found The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley to be a satisfying romance story with the help of a time travel plot and the lovely backdrop of the Cornish Coast. Eva returns to Trelowarth after a 20 year absence. This was where she and her family spent their summers when she was young. Remembering this as a happy place, she decided that this is where she would scatter her sister’s ashes. She also looked forward to reconnecting with the family that owned Trelowarth, Claire, her stepson Mark and stepdaughter Susan. What Eva found was that time existed on a special plane for some in this small corner of Cornwall and she was soon travelling back to the 1700’s and falling in love with Daniel Butler, a smuggler that lived in Trelowarth. At first she believed she was hallucinating but she soon realizes this is actually happening and that her desire is to be Daniel on a permanent basis. I have mixed feelings on how the time travel aspect was handled. The author appeared to have thought of some of the questionable details and come up with a solution. The clothing was an interesting problem as Eva continuously arrived in the past wearing modern clothing and returning to the present in 18th century dresses. One of the 18th century characters bemoans the fact that she needs the wardrobe of a queen to cover all the lost dresses. But the larger details, such as the 18th century characters seeming to accept a woman appearing and disappearing right in front of them with barely a raised eyebrow didn’t ring true. Also they seemed to have little curiosity about the future. The author excelled in her descriptions of the Cornish coast and I enjoyed that part of the book the most. Well I did not find The Rose Garden to be a book that swept me away, overall, it was light, easy to read, and had enough content to hold my interest.

Review by

After Eva's sister dies, she brings her ashes back to Trelowarth House, in Wales, where they had spent their summers as children. Soon, odd things begin happening; Eva hears voices in empty rooms and then she keeps finding herself in the same place, but 300 years in the past, when Trelowarth House was owned by an infamous group of smugglers. So, I was surprised to find a time-travel romance but, hey, smugglers are almost as fun as pirates and this story came complete with hidden caves and unscrupulous customs officers. And the writing was good enough not to get in the way of the story. In the end, however, the flaws outweighed the fun of this novel. I'll set aside the idea of going back to the eighteenth century to find a boyfriend, but what ended up bothering me about this story was the protagonist's passiveness, and the careless way the author explained time travel. Eva takes no real action until the final chapters of the book and is happy to pretend to be mute for much of the story. How the author handled the questions of both how time travel worked and how the inhabitants of the past handled having someone show up claiming to be from the future irked me. If you were involved in dangerous political matters involving succession that could well result in you and your family's imprisonment or execution and someone showed up from the future, would you ask them who the next king was? Would you be curious about the future, or would you simply decided that it was better not to know, thanks anyway? Would everyone around you go along with this? And even though dismissing witchcraft out of hand is easier nowadays, would mental illness occur to you as a more likely explanation for a stranger claiming to be from the future than that she really was from the future? Time travel is such an interesting idea and the book never explores any of that, with everyone being bizarrely uninterested in the topic.So while I can't help but like this book for having smugglers in it, in the end it missed the mark, lacking both adventure and characters with a healthy sense of curiosity.

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