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Let’s start this by making one thing perfectly clear – I’ve read both The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose by Donnelly and loved them enough to buy copies for my keeper shelves.  I don’t normally read YA novels (especially not those with contemporary settings), but the premise with the historical setting intrigued me, so when it became available on Amazon Vine I decided to give it a try.

Andi Alpers is a teenager carrying quite a load of emotional baggage, angry at life, angry at her parents and angry over the death of her brother.  Her father brings her along on his business trip to Paris and while there she finds a journal hidden in an old guitar case – the journal of Alexandrine (Alex) Paradis, a street actress in 1795 who gets herself in the thick of the events surrounding the Revolution. Andi finds herself drawn to Alex’s story until finally one dark night in the catacombs of Paris things take a decidedly unexpected turn and…

I guess you will have to read it for yourself, because I am not telling. After reading all the rave reviews I find myself in the minority again (no surprise), but this one just didn’t work for me. Andi’s teenage Angst was just too OTT for me, and I never really warmed up to her character – teenager or not, she was much too self-centered, and I was rather put off with all that pill popping, prescribed or not.  I didn’t find myself caring about anyone in the present setting, and while the parts in the past with Alex were better, I didn’t exactly find myself highly engaged either. Frankly, Donnelly just did not suck me into her world, and the scenes in the past were not very believable and the characters much too modern – especially the young musician (can’t say why without spoiling).This is a very hard book for me to rate as I wasn’t entertained enough to give it more than two stars, but I suspect fans of the genre will enjoy it more than I did so I’m giving it three. That said, I still have a hard time seeing Andi as a sympathtic role model for younger readers. I suspect my age is showing again 😉

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