The Tea Rose
Set in Whitechapel in 1888, The Tea Rose is a tale of a love lost and won, of a family's destruction, of murder and revenge - and one young woman's quest to escape the poverty of her childhood and make her fortune in the tea trade. Fiona Finnegan is the spirited, ambitious daughter of an Irish dock worker. She longs to break free from the squalid lanes and alleys of Whitechapel, where she has a job in a tea factory. With the love of her life, Joe Bristow, she dreams of escaping the poverty and opening her own tea shop. But one by one her dreams fall apart as her father is killed in a dock accident, Joe is seduced by another woman, and her mother is viciously murdered -- a suspected victim of Jack the Ripper. Devastated, her life in tatters, Fiona flees to New York where she sets up home with her alcoholic uncle. Slowly she builds his small grocery shop into a thriving tea house, and her new life flourishes. After years of hard work, she establishes herself as the head of her own powerful tea empire. But she cannot forget London -- or Joe. Convinced that her father was murdered by his brutal employer, Fiona vows to seek revenge and ruin him once and for all. Making her way back to the streets of her impoverished childhood, Fiona must start her fight again. From the bleak poverty and filthy back streets of London to the glossy sophistication of Fifth Avenue, from East End dock workers to New York socialites, The Tea Rose is a charming, heart warming and ultimately life-affirming novel.
'This is a most seductive novel. You'll be charmed by the novels heroine - her intelligence, her courage, her great heart. Despite her suffering - a lost love, a tragic family - there are moments you will want to cheer. It's the kind of novel where the writing is so fluid you feel the author simply loves telling her story. This is a splendid, heartwarming novel of pain, struggle, decency, triumph - and just what we need in these times.' - Frank McCourt 'I loved this vividly researched and wonderfully rumbustious yarn - brilliantly told, great fun to read.' - Simon Winchester 'Bold, brisk and beguiling, The Tea Rose is a splendid brew of a book.' - Sam Twining 'It's so much fun! This is London in the 1880s, the London of Charles Dickens and Edward Rutherford, a teeming, messy place full of business, dirt and poverty. Once in New York, we trip from the tenements of the Lower East Side to elegant dining at Delmonico's, with hardly a paragraph to catch our breath!The atmosphere of both starring cities is created in satisfying detail. One can walk the streets and listen to the people chat in the company of Jennifer Donnelly, who has done her historical homework!She delivers.' - Washington Post 'The Tea Rose is the kind of book that calls for a rainy day, a cozy chair and a good, steaming cup of tea. It's strong and satisfying, with a taste that lingers in the memory.' - Paula Cohen
Jennifer Donnelly is a children's book writer, tea enthusiast and amateur rosarian. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband. The Tea Rose is her first novel.