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The Winter Rose    by Jennifer Donnelly order for
Winter Rose
by Jennifer Donnelly
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

It is the summer of 1900 in London, England. It has been years since Jack the Ripper walked the streets of Whitechapel in London's poor East End. India Selwyn Jones has just graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women. She wants to work in the East End and make a difference.

India has turned her back on her wealthy family, since her parents disapproved of her career choice. She knows there is more to life than parties and pretty dresses. She joins a clinic and becomes a caring, compassionate doctor, but soon faces the reality of the damage caused by poverty and people's general hopelessness. Her fiancÚ, upcoming Liberal MP Freddie Lytton, wants India to commit to a wedding date so he can have access to her family money, but in order to do so, India would have to walk away from her medical career.

After a brawl on the docks, East End crime lord Sid Malone is badly hurt and is brought to the clinic. He was born Charlie Finnegan, but changed his name to avoid arrest. He is estranged from his family which has upset his sister Fiona. She is a wealthy business woman who owns and operates a large tea company. Nursing Sid back to health is very trying for India as she does not agree with his life choices and his political issues. However, they soon start to form a bond of friendship and India discovers he is essentially a very kind and gentle person. They fall in love despite their different backgrounds. Though confused by her feelings, India feels a strong connection to this mysterious man.

As Sid tries to change his life, some of his street cronies blame India for his change of conscience. Sid finds himself being framed for two murders in the East End and soon fakes his own death to flee London. Alone, desperate, and finding herself pregnant with Sid's child, India makes a decision that will change her life for many years to come. She marries Freddie Lytton and a path of destruction begins.

The Winter Rose, the sequel to The Tea Rose, is the second book of a trilogy. In it, we meet old friends and are swept into the lives of others. We travel from London to Africa as we follow Sid and India on a fate filled journey. The Winter Rose is a must read for anyone who enjoys historical romance.

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