Original date of publication: 2011
My edition: 2011 (Sourcebooks)
Why I decided to read: It was offered to be for review
How I acquired my copy: review copy from the publisher, July 2011
Warning: spoilers below!
The Rose Garden is Susanna Kearsley at her best. Eva Ward is a publicist who comes to the Cornish coast to scatter the ashes of her recently-deceased sister. A house called Trelowarth was once the home of smugglers, and Eva finds herself drawn back into the 18th century where she meets a man named Daniel Butler and becomes associated with Jacobean plots.
Daniel Butler is kind of a mystery as a character, because we only get to see him for short snatches of time. But I can definitely see how appealing he is as a hero. But other than that, the character development of this novel is good. Better than that, though, is the writing. Kearsley’s writing is smooth, and the romance aspect of the novel is neatly woven in—it’s not too strong, but we know where Eva’s heart lies.
The plot is strong, too—Eva and the reader in the 21st century know what’s going to happen to the Jacobeans, but she is stuck in a hard place—does she say something to Daniel to stop him from becoming involved? Or does she say nothing and allow history to unfold itself? That is the underlying theme of this book, and one that Kearsley explores so well.