Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? Time-travel? Books set in England/Cornwall? Mysteries? Danger? Adventure? The 18th century? Romance? Lyrical prose that will sweep you away to another time and place and create characters so vivid they live on after the last page? Have I got a book for you!

Back when I was trying to choose my favorite reads from 2011, Susanna Kearsley’s latest, The Rose Garden, was near the top of the list. So I want to give special mention to this book, tell you a little about it, and why I liked it so (other than the above list of reasons!).

One of those reasons is explained well by Susanna herself, at The Heroine Addicts blog (Getting To Know You). It’s about courtship (vs. sex scenes) and the fact that this is vanishing in the market in which Susanna writes (not so much in the Christian fiction market, since that’s what we focus on when writing romance), and why she feels it’s important not to lose this “getting to know you” aspect of relationships in fiction.

Go read her post and get this in her own words. 

Susanna has described the romantic scenes in her books as G-rated, and that’s one of the qualities I appreciate about her novels. That doesn’t mean the chemistry doesn’t sizzle on the page at times, or the reader isn’t hoping for and pulling for the characters every small step of the way as they do get to know one another.

Here’s a blurb for The Rose Garden.

“Whatever time we have,” he said, “it will be time enough.”

Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.

But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs.

From Susanna Kearsley, author of the New York Times bestseller The Winter Sea and a voice acclaimed by fans of Gabaldon, du Maurier, and Niffenegger alike, The Rose Garden is a haunting exploration of love, family, the true meaning of home, and the ties that bind us together.

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