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Reviewed on Richard & Judy on Wednesday 23 January 2008.
A rich historical novel set amongst the backdrop of the Crimean War. Mariella is used to the comfort of London Society, the cosy drawing rooms and social occasions and is not prepared for the reality of war when she embarks on a journey to see her injured fiancé and search for her missing cousin. The mention real historical figures such as Florence Nightingale add to the authentic feel of the novel, sweeping you along as Mariella evolves in to a strong independent woman. This is one you will not want to put down.
Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men. In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can.
For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from Henry, her fiancé, a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns.
When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him. But upon their arrival at his lodgings, she and her maid make a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared.
Following the trail of her elusive and captivating cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol, where she encounters Rosa's dashing stepbrother, a reckless cavalry officer whose complex past - and future - is inextricably bound up with her own.
As her quest leads her deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, Mariella's ordered world begins to crumble and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness and love. But, in the thick of a war fought on more fronts than one, she also discovers a strength and passion she never knew she possessed.
'I loved everything about this book. With a cracking plot, wide in scope and yet exquisitely detailed, it conveys the world of England in the 1850s... her best so far' - Sally Zigmond, Historical Novels review
Publication date: 27/12/2007
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||27th December 2007|
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Katharine McMahon was our Guest Editor in April 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing. Katharine McMahon is the author of seven historical novels including The Alchemist’s Daughter, a Waterstone’s Paperback of the Year in 2006, the bestselling Rose of Sebastopol, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2008, and The Crimson Rooms. She has taught in secondary schools, performed in local theatre and worked as a Royal Literary Fund fellow teaching writing skills at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Warwick. She lives in Hertfordshire. She relies on ...More About Katharine McMahon