Desert Isle Keeper
The Rose Garden
I have very few authors on my auto-buy list. Susanna Kearsley – who writes haunting, lyrical works which combine romance and history – is one of them. In her latest novel she mixes time-travel and history to tell us a tale of love and murder. It’s a compelling story and one I am thrilled to be able to recommend.
Eva works with and lives near her beloved sister Katrina, a movie star. The two have been especially close since the death of their parents. When Katrina dies, it is Eva who is responsible for scattering her ashes. She chooses to do so in Cornwall, in a place where they spent their childhood summers. But after the ashes are scattered and her sister’s spirit supposedly laid to rest, Eva finds herself lingering, helping the Hallet family – old friends from those summer days – set up a tea room in their sumptuous, award winning gardens. It is while she is working on their website that she finds herself quite suddenly in another time, another place – meeting a man whom she can only assume she has conjured up in her dreams.
But it quickly becomes evident that Daniel Butler is neither dream nor ghost. He is as real as she, the two of them interacting in a a most dangerous time and place. For in the year 1715 Daniel is a smuggler and a man working against the crown. Can love survive the impossible odds of being in two separate times – and of being lived under such dangerous circumstances?
Daniel and Eva are terrific characters. Eva is bright, modern and resourceful. A quick thinker and someone who can react with speed. All important traits when you find yourself thrust suddenly into a dangerous historical intrigue! Daniel is amazing. He is a man very much of his time, but he is also open minded, willing to accept what was happening with the time travel element, and a fair and just man for his time. I loved that he wasn’t one of those macho, historical heroes but a man who was reasonable and treated the people around him – including the women (gasp!) – with respect.
One of the best things about Kearsley’s novels is that she has the perfect voice for telling the tales she tells. Her tone is practical and friendly and yet filled with that sense of menace that only a true Gothic style writer can achieve. We know something delicious awaits us just a few pages away and there is always a keen edge of anticipation as each page is turned. When I know one of her books is coming I set the time aside to just spend the day reading. I carry the thing with me everywhere, as I pick up the kids from school, stir the soup, and lie in bed; it is my constant companion from the moment I get it until I am done. I am no good at setting her novels back down; they are that engrossing.
I found the time travel element well done here. I normally struggle with these type of novels because the characters seem so clueless about what is happening and oblivious to the danger it represents. That is not the case here. Eva is very well aware of the danger and does what she can to mitigate it. While she grows to love Daniel and the time he lives in, she is also very well aware of what she would be giving up to stay there. She doesn’t just find time travel some grand adventure but actually thinks about the dangers she is facing each time she has an unexpected jump, which made the whole thing so much more believable to me.
This is a wonderful novel and one I can heartily recommend to readers who like lush, romantic stories with realistic characters in a well researched historical setting. If you are in the mood for a really good read this fall, try this one.
I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.