You might have noticed I’ve been on a Cornwall kick lately. I will admit that I’ve been ordering books from the library merely because they’re listed as being set in Cornwall at Good Reads; Ross Poldark is the next book on my to-read list even though I’ve already watched the miniseries. So to the point–I just finished Susanna Kearsley’s The Rose Garden, which is (surprise!) set in Cornwall. I hadn’t read any of Ms. Kearsley’s other books and I had no idea what the book was about (or even what genre it was) before I grabbed a copy from the library so I didn’t have any hopes or expectations. I ended up enjoying The Rose Garden immensely, blowing through it in a few short days, looking forward to getting a few minutes to read a chapter or two.
The Rose Garden is the story of a woman (Eva) who returns to the site of her childhood holidays after the unexpected death of her sister. The charming site of these youthful vacations is, you guessed it, Cornwall, where extraordinary and magical things can, and do, happen. Soon Eva is torn between two different times, slipping back and forth with no warning. There have been the inevitable comparisons to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series due to the 18th-century time travel, but I find The Rose Garden infinitely preferable; it’s blessedly free of casual misogyny and eroticized violence. Is The Rose Garden a perfect book? No, of course not. I felt that the two love interests could have been fleshed out a bit more; I would have liked to know more about 18th-century hottie Daniel Butler’s exciting life smuggling and doing his Jacobite thing, but overall, Susanna Kearsley has written an enjoyable page-turner that’s so much better than what’s normally on offer in the historical romance genre. The Rose Garden is definitely-recommended summer reading.
Friday’s post will be all about Midsummer. Stay tuned next week for a Rose Garden-inspired recipe: Fish and Chips!