The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
I have no idea where I got the recommendation for The Tea Rose. It does not seem like something I would pick up on my own, though I do like Jennifer Donnelly’s book A Gathering Light, and I also have a soft place in my heart for historical fiction. The Tea Rose is certainly that…but it’s really more of a melodrama that is set in a different time.
Fiona is a young girl in East London working for a tea company, when her family and her love life are destroyed by plotting evildoers. She escapes to America, where she starts a successful tea and grocery company. BUT WILL SHE EVER GET HER REVENGE?!
Historical anachronisms are EVERYWHERE, and I’m not even a history scholar. All the cockney characters’ dialogue is written with no h’s. I ‘ope this bug the ‘ell out of you, but it makes me pull out my ‘air! The main character is so perfect that it’s sickening, and the plot twists are unbelievable.
And yet? This is perfect summer reading. Zero thinking required. Just accept the story for what it is, and you might get into it.
Rousing recommendation, eh?
Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker
Blood transfusion was a very controversial idea in the 17th century. Why would you want to give someone more blood when medics have been bleeding patients for centuries? And what if you mixed up the blood of humans and animals? Would you get some crazy Dr. Moreauish hybrids?!
Tucker’s nonfiction work is a very thorough examination of the development of blood transfusion. Make sure you have a strong stomach and patience if you read this one. If you have a prior interest in science and medical history, you’ll probably find this fascinating. It’s still interesting if you don’t…but not to the same degree. And I’d just like to point out, her subtitle is very misleading. More murder, less medicine please!