Donnelly, Jennifer. The Winter Rose. (I'm really catching up on my Advanced Reader's Copies.) An enjoyable romance/historical novel that reads very quickly. India Selwyn Jones has just graduated from medical school and, eager to help those who most need her skills, joins a practice in Whitechapel, one of the poorest areas of London.
Like many of us who have high ideals and little exposure to the complexities of the problems, India finds that she must compromise to succeed and must acknowledge that good diets and cleanliness are almost impossible in extreme poverty. In her practice, India also comes in contact with the leader of the criminal element in Whitechapel, Sid Malone. Ahhh, here is that prickly love interest, worlds apart, but inevitably drawn together.
There are a lot of characters in this novel (some from Donnelly's previous novel) and Donnelly does a decent job of sketching them in. The likable characters are very likable, with strengths and weaknesses, but are not highly developed. I cared about India and Sid, but they never quite came off the page for me. The villain is completely one dimensional.
Much of the plot is typical of this type of novel, but there is something vibrant that pulls you along-- through the lives of the rich and the poorest of the poor, through the streets of the East End and beyond, through the heartaches and adventures. The next novel will evidently be concerned with Seamie and Willa and pursue the theme of The Tea Rose (which I've not read) and The Winter Rose--love, separation, reunion.
Fiction. Romance/historical. 2008. 707 pages.