The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (♦♦♦)
Eva Ward has recently lost her famous sister Katrina to a devastating disease. When Eva receives Katrina’s ashes, she is left wondering the best place to scatter them: the place where her sister belonged, where she was most happy. That leads Eva on a quest across the Tamar River in Cornwall to the place where her family used to vacation when both she and Katrina were kids.
Trelowarth mansion is the home of happy memories. Now, as adults, siblings Mark and Susan welcome Eva as if no time had passed since the last time they saw each other. Eva wants to revive those childhood summers, but before the season is over, she realizes that time gone cannot be recaptured.
As days pass by, Eva starts experiencing odd occurrences at Trelowarth: she hears whispering voices in the room next to hers and she also sees an alternative (non-existent) path in the adjacent woods. Before she realizes it, she starts seeing a man from another era in the house, and then she travels in time to the Trelowarth of 1715, populated by two charming smuggler brothers named Daniel and Jack, and their Irish friend.
In 1715, Eva witnesses Daniel’s preparations to rebel against the newly proclaimed King George I, in favor of James Stuart, the rightful king of England. As Daniel and Eva get to know each other, they fall in love, which puts them--together with the issue of treason—on a collision course with a King’s lawman and his thirst for vengeance.
I thought The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley was OK, but just that. I thought the next book that I read written by Kearsley was going to be as splendid as The Winter Sea; unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The Rose Garden was interesting, but neither unforgettable nor hard to put down, in part because despite its premise nothing really happened in the story besides the convoluted time travel and the preparations for an insurrection that never quite took flight.
I liked the love story; again Kearsley kept it classy despite the magnetism and wonderful chemistry of Daniel and Eva as a couple. That I liked.
What I didn’t like was the time travel. I didn’t think that part of the story was polished enough. Eva appeared and disappeared at random, sometimes in front of other people who shouldn’t know what was going on. I also didn’t like that she had no control over that.
I thought the ending was OK, no fireworks either; it wrapped up the story nicely but I was still left with some questions.
In summary, The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley is an OK story, not at the same level as love story or historical fiction than The Winter Sea but entertains if you’re willing to withstand that nothing really happens.