The Countess of Monte Cristo

I specifically chose a high page-count book to lower the money I spend monthly on e-books, thinking it would slow me down ... HA! Donnelly's writing doesn't let you go long enough to take your time with her story; it grips you right from the first pages and whips you through at lightning speed. The story is intricate but utterly engrossing, the style is smooth, and the characters demand your undivided attention. Despite the great amount of description that this book has, it doesn't plod along!

The period detail adds depth to the story, illustrating a London clutched in a season of terror and uncertainty, as well as a New York that bustles and thrives on progress and the new biggest thing. The setting and the characters who populate it gives Fiona, our bright and stubborn heroine, the tools with which she may seek out revenge against "the dark man," he who decimated her near-idyllic youth and washed her world in blood and horror. I saw a review which called this story "The Countess of Monte Cristo" -- SO TRUE!

I gave a 4/5 star rating despite the fact that I was itching to give it the full 5. There was one detail which forced me to deduct that last star, though. There are inventions and innovations which are, in this book, credited to the story's characters when in real life they were the work of others. This struck me as somewhat unethical for an author of historical fiction, and disappointed me. Credit where credit is due.

Setting that one draw-back aside, The Tea Rose is an exceptional book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the pain and suffering Fiona, Joe, and Nick were forced to endure. I genuinely fell in love with these characters and felt for them, hoping and silently supporting their personal endeavors. Donnelly has proven herself as a writer of great prowess and elegance. Bravo!