It is 1900 and India Selwyn Jones, daughter of an aristocratic family, naïve and idealistic, has just graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women. She is ready to change the world and is determined to make a difference as a doctor in the slums of East London. She hopes to establish a free clinic for the poor women and children of Whitechapel, but ends up stumbling into the world of the notorious criminal and gangland boss, Sid Malone. Malone is a shadowy, menacing figure—a gangster with a mysterious past and little mercy. But when India saves his life after a dockside brawl, she finds herself drawn to his magnetic charm, and their friendship quickly grows into something more.
But Freddie Lytton, India’s ambitious and ruthless fiancé, is determined to advance his political career, force India to give up hers, and drag Sid to the hangman’s noose. And to do it, he’ll use any means necessary, be it theft, betrayal, even murder.
The Winter Rose is a sweeping, epic love story that moves from the pubs and opium dens of the East End to the Houses of Parliament, colonial Africa, and beyond; and it’s certainly epic in length, coming in at 707 pages! The story is full of mystery, passion, family drama, and star-crossed romance.
Jennifer Donnelly has a wonderful gift for this kind of grand storytelling, as she expertly interweaves history and fiction. Her cast of vivid characters is set against a backdrop of the emergence of women’s rights, British colonial expansion in Africa, and the birth of the British Labour party.
But be warned: this book is the sequel to The Tea Rose, and if you intend to read the first book, this one does contain spoilers. However, The Winter Rose can certainly be read and enjoyed on its own as a standalone novel.
Check the WRL catalog for The Winter Rose.