Set in London and Africa in the early days of the twentieth century, 'The Winter Rose' introduces some remarkable new characters. India Selwyn-Jones is one of the rare new breed: a lady doctor. Her family, her eligible, ambitious fiancé, the male medical establishment all object but she insists on defying convention and finds a post in London's East End. There she meets a gangland boss called Sid Malone. Criminal he may be but he also has a hidden charm, and a devastatingly attractive personality, and when India is called to treat him after a dockside brawl, their friendship becomes more intense.
But Sid Malone is not his real name: and he has a past and enemies by the score, including India's determined and ruthless fiancé whose intention is to marry into the family money as well as becoming a leading political figure. The stormy, noisy, brawling docklands are a natural home to the political fight as the fledgling Labour Party gets underway, and the struggle for the women's vote becomes more strident.
But the East End is also a place for those who have a past to hide, a new beginning to find. And so the complicated strands of betrayal and pretence, of ambition and family, are woven again into a new drama, in a new country.
Jennifer Donnelly, author of 'A Gathering Light' as well as 'The Tea Rose', has a wonderful gift for sweeping storytelling, with a lively cast of vivid characters, rich and detailed backgrounds. Her writing has a warmth and energy that takes all readers completely into her world.