A Rose For Julian
A Rose For Julian is an historical romance which is lighter than light. Reading it was like looking at a pale watercolor painting of a landscape you know is in actuality filled with vivid and rich coloration. Julian, the hero, is a tortured and wounded man who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. Rose, the heroine, is equally tormented; she had been forced to serve as her landlord’s mistress and now feels irrevocably tarnished. But truth be told, neither of them seem to suffer all that much, and most of their suffering is brought on because of their own guilt, which leads them to keep torturing themselves rather than the other. The overall tone, then, is sweet and muted.
Rose Cranmer has been a nurse with Florence Nightingale. She plans to get away from England and move to Canada or America in order to get away from Sir Ronald Bolton, whose mistress she was forced to become in order to keep her mother from being evicted. Rose takes a job with the Earl and Countess of Everleigh, nursing their son Julian, who had been wounded in the Charge of The Light Brigade. Julian and Rose had known each other in the Crimea, and had not gotten along, but now the lonely Julian responds to Rose’s kindness and common sense. And she grows fond of Julian and his parents. The earl and countess are kindess personified and treat her like a daughter.
There is a lot of catching up from earlier books in this one. A Rose For Julian is the third in the Angels of Mercy series and was preceeded by More Than A Dream and True To Her Heart. Since I have not read those books, I was a bit lost at times. There were people introduced whom I was obviously expected to know. The story of Rose and Julian, already muted, nearly faded away entirely at times while Schroeder tied up loose ends involving Catherine and Lucinda from the earlier books.
Schroeder’s characters are not subtle; both Rose and Julian were quite sweet, as was his mother, the warm and loving Countess of Everleigh. On the other hand, Sir Ronald Bolton is very, very evil. This is essentially a simple book but not a simpleminded one. Still, it lacked energy and, given the history of the lead characters, seemed too light.
If you want to read a romance with a war background, a wounded and tortured hero, and a strong and loving heroine, I’d recommend Carla Kelly’s Summer Campaign or Mary Jo Putney’s Shattered Rainbows over Martha Schroeder’s A Rose for Julian. Those of you who have read and enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, including my AAR colleague Jennifer Schendel, may find this one wraps things up nicely.