'Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and bloodshed. Epic.'

1,865 dramatic pages. 6 days. 5 stars each. 3 epic love stories. Countless heart-pounding adventures. One happy reader. 

"I just finished the most wonderful story..." I felt like Belle recently as I turned the last page in this incredible series. I spent one week with my nose stuck in these books, and I didn't regret it for a second. The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly epitomize why I love historical fiction and family sagas! I actually read The Tea Rose (and The Winter Rose, too, I think) for the first time years ago. If I remember correctly, A Northern Light was my first experience with Donnelly's writing (all the way back in high school) and then I picked up this book because I longed for more from her. But honestly, I'm not quite sure because I've read so many books since then and so much time has passed. Regardless, I had all three books on my shelves but 1) had never read the last and 2) couldn't remember the first two well enough to start with the third. And so, I decided to re-read. I'm always a little hesitant to pick up long books, which is the main reason The Wild Rose has been on my TBR for so long. But I was soon kicking myself for letting a little thing like length keep me from such a fantastic read! I could not put these books down.

I truly remembered very little from the first two books, so it felt like reading them for the first time. And they are definitely an emotional rollercoaster! One of the reasons I love long books, when I finally convince myself to pick them up, is the way I typically get to completely immerse myself in the characters' lives. I know that I'm signing up for a dose of drama and angst (a lot happens in this many pages!), but I end up loving every second of it. That's not to say there aren't moments where I'm frustrated by a particular storyline, but the books are still so satisfying overall. 

I was so invested in these characters embracing life and finding love amidst the backdrop of an ever-changing world. I journeyed everywhere from tea factories in Whitechapel to Tibetan mountain ranges, cattle farms in California to camels in the Middle East, and beyond. Donnelly brings such rich detail to the various settings, which was the icing on the cake for this historical fiction lover. I am all about the description that paints a clear picture of the time period!

But the best part is that I met so many unforgettable characters in these pages: costermongers and code breakers, entrepreneurs and explorers, guv'nors and gangsters, spies and suffragettes, doctors and drug dealers, prostitutes and Prime Ministers. Donnelly depicts a sprawling world populated by characters from all walks of life. 

I'm a little shocked that I didn't remember more from these books because they feel so unforgettable to me. It's been a few weeks since I finished, and I'm still wishing I got to spend more time with this family. Honestly, I can't recommend this series enough! I'm sad to say goodbye but thankful that I can reread and revisit this world and these characters anytime I choose. If you're a lover of historical fiction and/or epic family sagas, I hope these books are on your radar!

(And yes, I quoted Logan Echolls from Veronica Mars in this post title. I just couldn't help myself!)

So Quotable
“We're not punished for our sins, lad. We're punished by them.” -- The Tea Rose
Released: March 2002; November 2006; August 2011 | Publisher: Thomas Dunne; Hyperion
Pages: 557 pages; 736 pages; 623 pages; | Source & Format: Owned; Paperback


  1. I know I’m months late commenting, but I couldn’t help myself because I absolutely adored these books. Yes, they’re long, but they are so good you can’t put them down!

  2. I can't believe I still haven't read this series, especially after being reminded of your glowing recommendation! This trilogy sounds incredibly epic, and just the sort of immersive reading experience that I think could be so fun to have.


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