I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth, but I put off starting it for weeks. I knew that once I’d started, I’d be swept away by Kate’s story and wouldn’t want the story to end. And yes, that’s exactly what happened with The Blue Rose – I couldn’t put it down. Kate has an enviable knack of transporting readers right into the pages of her story, and you get to a point where you don’t want to leave that world.
The story begins as the French Revolution gathers momentum, and moves between France and Imperial China as an impossible love story unfolds. Viviane de Faitaud loves her garden at Chateau de Belisama-sur-le-Lac and is devastated when it destroyed during a hailstorm. Welsh landscape designer David Stronach accepts a commission from her father, the Marquis de Ravoisier, to plan the chateau’s new gardens, and the two meet and fall in love. Her father puts an end to their fledgling romance and cruelly hunts David from the property, before forcing Viviane to marry a rich, much older duke (who is a rather unpleasant man). What follows is an enthralling tale of two determined people who have to find a way to survive in an increasingly uncertain world, but the question is, will their love survive?
Kate weaves a spell around every word, captivating the reader as they immerse themselves into the heady, revolutionary times. The world of revolutionary France comes to life under her careful hand and dedication to research – and she doesn’t hold back on the bloody details. Her characters are spirited and memorable, especially Viviane. The fairy tale of the title is woven in seamlessly (you can also read another version of “The Blue Rose” fairy tale in Kate’s book The Buried Moon).
I loved The Blue Rose and for me, it’s another keeper for my shelf. I just need to get a copy that’s the final version!
For more of Monique Mulligan’s writing on books, check out her blog