Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review #84: The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Wild Rose
Jennifer Donnelly
book cover of 
The Wild Rose 
 (Rose, book 3)
Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: Historical Romance / Espionage
Ages: 16 and up
Sequel to The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose.
I received and advance e-book of this for review from NetGalley.

NetGalley Description:
The vast multi-generational epic that began with The Tea Rose and continued with The Winter Rose now reaches its dramatic conclusion in The Wild Rose.
London, 1914. World War I is looming on the horizon, women are fighting for the right to vote, and global explorers are pushing the limits of endurance at the Poles and in the deserts. into this volatile time, Jennifer Donnelly places her vivid and memorable characters:
- Willa Alden, a passionate mountain climber who lost her leg while climbing Kilimanjaro with Seamus Finnegan, and who will never forgive him for saving her life.
- Seamus Finnegan, a polar explorer who tries to forget Willa as he marries a beautiful young woman back home in England.
- Max von Brandt, a handsome sophisticate who courts high society women, but who has a secret agenda as a German spy;
- and many others.

My Review:
It took me a while to get into this book. It started abysmally with both of the main characters, Willa and Seamie, sleeping with people they didn't care about because they weren't with each other. I never really came to like either of them. Willa really annoyed me with her stupidity and Seamie with his selfishness. And poor Jennie (Seamie's wife), though she started out all right, was ruined by the pair of them. (With some help from Max von Brandt.)

Max von Brandt is what I would call a smooth operator, and I mean that in a slimy, unpleasant sort of way. I could understand his motives, but his methods made me hate him. There were times when I felt like the author wanted me to feel sorry for him, but I just couldn't.

Now that I have complained about all of the main characters, I have to admit that I really liked the minor ones. Fiona and Joe (Seamie's sister and her husband) are lovely, likable people with a fun daughter. They stand up for what they believe in and support their family. Likewise, Sid and India (Seamie's brother and his wife) are about ten times more likable and interesting than Willa and Seamie.

The Wild Rose has an interesting story set in a fascinating time. The characters rub elbows with Winston Churchill, Ernest Shackleton, and Lawrence of Arabia to mention only a few. The amount of name-dropping in this book borders on the ridiculous. World War I is one of my favorite time periods to read about, so I enjoyed the history. The plot is complicated and involves just a few too many coincidences for my taste, but it was still, for the most part, enjoyable. What I did not like was the adultery. I really, really dislike adultery. I don't care that he loved her before he loved his wife, that is no excuse for such behavior.

All in all, this book was okay. I disliked the main characters but the minor characters were good enough to keep me reading. There were some aspects of the story that I hated but others I really liked. I haven't read The Tea Rose or The Winter Rose yet, but I think I will like them better because they tell the stories of Joe and Fiona, Sid and India, who are my favorite characters in this book.

I would recommend this book to people who like long, complicated historical romances. I don't highly recommend it, but it wasn't bad. I would probably give it three stars.

Content Ratings: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

I give this an 8.10 for multiple uses of strong language.

This gets an 8.10 in sexuality for multiple scenes of various explicitness.

I rate this book a 6.10 in violence for battles, beatings and murder.

                                         Lieder Madchen


  1. I'm so excited to read this book! I absolutely loved the first 2 books and the series, and since you haven't read I really recommend you do. The first book is Joe & Fiona's story and the second is Sid's and India's. I'm still thinking that because I loved the first 2 so much, this third one will HAVE to be amazing too! I'm just hoping it can live up to all my expectations!

  2. I've been meaning to read these books but I just haven't gotten around to reading them yet/ Great review.

  3. the cover captured my attention and so did the espionage, but by the end of your review, i may have to put it on the back burner.

  4. The Winter Rose is one of my favourite books ever. I loved it so much. I didn't like this one quite as much, but still I was glad to get to see the characters again.

    I am such a Jennifer Donnelly fangirl. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

  5. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will dislike everything you dislike...which is too bad because I loved the first two books (winter rose is the best)...but in The Winter Rose I already didn't care much for Willa, and I know Im not going to be able to get excited about adultery either...mainly i'm just reading it to learn what happened to Sid and India...and if you haven't read the first two books you're in for such a treat..again..especially The Winter Rose (imo)...i've reread bits of that book countless times...sid malone is a classic bad boy with a heart character...but im a sucker for that stuff ;)...thanks for the review

  6. @Anonymous Since writing this review, I have read both of the other books and Winter Rose was my favorite. :)