East London, 1888 - a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona's life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan's tea trade. But Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.
One of the best books I read this year. Wow! Finishing this book was the one thing I dreaded. The Tea Rose was a captivating, heartfelt, and engaging read. I was lost in this fascinating, atmospheric world of 19th century London, and would love to go back sometime and revisit the wonderful characters that Jennifer Donnelly created. There are great characters in this story that you will not forget easily, especially Fiona Finnegan who is the central figure with great strength and fierce ambition. Very well written and keeps you guessing. Some time you can predict what may happen; but it keeps you hanging. Other things come as a complete surprise.