Mariana and The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley Reviewed!

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew at once that it was her house. Now, twenty-five years later, by some strange chance, she has just become the new owner of the sixteenth-century Wiltshire farmhouse. But Julia soon begins to suspect that more than coincidence has brought her there. 

As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself abruptly transported back in time. Stepping into seventeenth-century England, Julia becomes Mariana, a beautiful young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love for Richard de Mornay, handsome forebear of the present squire of Crofton Hall.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past, falling ever deeper in love with Richard...until one day she realizes Mariana's life threatens to eclipse her own--and that she must find a way to lay the past to rest, or risk losing a chance for love in her own time.

The title immediately makes me think of Alfred Tennyson’s poem of the same name introducing themes of a lonely isolated heartbroken woman desperately searching for her own sense of happiness and love.  One could find these attributes within the main character of Julia Beckett if you were to look closely enough. I don't know if this was the author's intention. However,  a stanza of Tennyson's Mariana is included in the opening novel pages!

I always enjoy Susanna Kearsley’s gripping writing style and her historical descriptions in her flashback chapters. However, she uses a very calculated formula when writing her novels. For instance, there is always the lovelorn lonely single woman needing an escape from her life, discovering an unexplainable attraction to an old house, the past life connection solution providing her a romantic love relationship! Hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? This would be my one complaint. When I read her novels, the premise is always the same but I fall for it hook line and sinker…bring on the history and the romance!

"Whatever time we have," he said, "it will be time enough."

Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.

But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs.

In The Rose Garden we meet Eva Ward whose sister has just passed away and she has been given the task of finding a resting place for her ashes.  Eva remembers her happy childhood in Cornwall, England, and off she goes for a visit she will never forget! Of course, staying in an old cottage there evokes her imagination when she starts to see a ghostly image of a man and strange things happen. She sees a garden path that doesn’t exist and her visions begin again! Oh, and she hears voices from the past when she sees that male ghostly figure that of course she is very attracted to! Do you see where I’m going with this? Is it imaginary or is it reality?

The descriptions of Cornwall and the smell of roses coupled with the author’s beautiful descriptive writing style make this historical time travel romance not as formulaic as you would expect! Actually, the premise did remind me very much of A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware which I loved so so much. I highly recommend it as well. I read it a few years ago, and some of the scenes and chapters remain in my memory still!


Anonymous said…
I really like this author. My favorite is The Winter Sea.
Kimberly Eve said…
Yes that's my favorite, too. It was the first one I read and it has always stayed with me. I just love it.
Kevin Marsh said…
Hello Kimberley,

These books look good I will have to research and read.

Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Marsh said…
Hello again,

I have just realised, 'Mariana' is both my wife and her sister incorporated. Maria and Anna, my two favourite females! :-)
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Kevin,

You read as much as I do! Oh how lovely about your two favorite females! What a coincidence :)