The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden - Susanna Kearsley Amazingly perfect... I had barely begun the book, and Ms. Kearsley already had me teary-eyed! I was almost instantly drawn into this book, and I found myself attempting to jump ahead of the author with the story, but her version of the story was so much more beautiful, more touching, more achingly real than anything I could imagine.Eva has returned to a town in Cornwall, England bringing with her the ashes of her only sibling and dearly loved sister, Katrina. Katrina's husband tasked Eva with scattering Katrina's ashes "somewhere she belongs". And the only place that Eva can think of is Trelowarth -- the great stone house in Cornwall that Katrina, Eva, and their parents used to summer in. Trelowarth is known for its rare and beautiful roses. Eva hasn't been back in twenty years, but Mark, Susan, and Claire all greet her and treat her as if she'd never left. Eva finds some comfort and contentment at Trelowarth until she begins to hear strange voices... and then begins to see a strange man dressed in clothing from the 18th century. Eva thinks that she's either suffering the affects of the sleeping pills she's been taking or the affects of grief. But then, she finds herself inexplicably in the past -- 1715. She's still at Trelowarth, but its now the home of the Butler brothers, Jack and Daniel -- free smugglers. Daniel is the man she's been seeing, briefly; in their first encounter, he's as uncertain as she is, both believing the other to be an hallucination. But when it happens again, Eva realizes that she's caught in some phenomenon of time travel which she has no control over. She has no idea and no warning when she'll suddenly find herself in the past. The oddity is that when she does return to the past, time has gone by -- sometimes days, other times weeks. But when Eva returns to her present time, barely seconds have passed.Eva finds herself fully accepted by Daniel and his long-time friend Fergus, an Irishman. And Eva finds herself falling in love with Daniel. But what can she possibly do about it, when she has no control over her travel? Daniel theorizes that perhaps if Eva were away from Trelowarth, the phenomenon wouldn't affect her. But will she and Daniel ever have the opportunity to test the theory?--------------I cannot say how much I love this book! The story was so well-done, the characters well-drawn... I felt as if I were there, smelling the roses, feeling the sea spray hit my cheeks, caught in-between two worlds, as Eva is. I loved that Eva wasn't out to change the past, as much as she would have liked to alter some of the events to suit herself, she didn't. If I have a nit, it might be that Daniel is too perfect a hero... but Mark, Oliver, and Paul were pretty close in the perfect category, so Ms. Kearsley doesn't completely skew all in Daniel's favor. Some might compare this to "Outlander", but I hope they won't. Although even I noted a few interesting coincidences... each has a main character named Claire; Daniel's sense of honor and ability to live and love in the moment did remind me of Jamie; the villain (the Constable) isn't as dark or as twisted as Black Jack Randall, but I had the feeling that was only because he didn't quite have the chance. But for any similarities, there are so many differences -- and those are what make this book elegant and beautiful and satisfying. Because while the book leaves possible room for a sequel, the story is complete in and of itself. And as much as I love "Outlander", I do sometimes despise being 7+ books in with the story (esp. Jamie & Claire) still going, while readers attempt to patiently await the next book in the saga.