Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley


I know I could never write a timeslip story that could top this one, so I’m not going to try – despite it being something I have wanted since reading, ‘Lady of Hay’ by Barbara Erskine – and it’s all due to Susanna Kearsley’s latest book, The Rose Garden.

When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall to scatter Katrina's ashes. Eva also needs to find where she belongs in the world and where better but the place where the sisters spent childhood summers?  Eva discovers her grief takes a strange turn and she begins to hallucinate – or does she?

Without warning and totally out of her control, Eva finds herself stepping into the Trelowarth House of the past, three hundred years into it to be exact. She meets an unusual man, Daniel Butler, who  not only accepts her story with admirable calm, but he helps her adjust, not to mention hide her frequent appearances at unexpected times. Eva begins to question her place in the present, but how can she be in love with a man who has long been dead? Is there a way she can stay with Daniel in his world?

The ‘past’ characters leap out of the page, from the mesmerising Daniel, the sharp Irish wit of Fergal, the flambouyant Jack to the sinister, dangerous Constable Creed. The salty damp seaweed smell of the smuggler’s cave and the author’s description of Daniel’s ship, ‘the ‘Sally’ was so vivid, I expected Jack Sparrow to turn up at any moment.

The history of the first Jacobite Rebellion is weaved into the story seamlessly, so it’s not hard to believe you are with Eva in the early eighteenth century.  One of Eva’s dilemma’s was that she couldn’t take anything modern back into the past with her, but I was willing her to change some of her wealth into diamonds – which could certainly have been useful  in 1715!

I loved this story and feel sure it will remain with me for a while.