Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Review: Laura Parker’s THE SECRET ROSE– Wonderful Australian Romance, and a worthy 3rd in the Rose Trilogy

Book 3 in the Rose trilogy is an exciting story. I just loved (it can be read as a stand alone, too). It’s Irish, it’s a bodice ripper (well, sorta) and an engaging, well written story of two Irish characters who cross the ocean to fall in love in the bush country of Australia.

It begins in Ireland in 1844. Aisleen Meghan Dierdre Fitzgerald (her many Christian names are from her predecessors, heroines in books 1 and 2) is a red haired Irish lass with a spirited, carefree nature. Like her namesakes, she bears a rose birthmark. But unlike them, as a child she saw no visions, though she did have a mysterious Irish lad as a playmate.

When she is 12, Aisleen’s father, who wanted a son and hates his daughter, sends her away to England as a companion to another, richer girl. There, Aisleen is educated and becomes a very proper lady and a governess. She also loses her spirit and her fire.

In 1857, when she is 25, believing she will never marry, but not wishing to be a burden to her mother, she decides to accept a position on the other side of the world in New South Wales. There, she becomes desperate and accepts the only offer she has, one of marriage to a glib Irish bushman and a former prisoner, an “emancipist.” Thomas Butler Gibson hails from Cork, as does Aisleen. (If the name Butler sounds familiar, it should from the other books.)

And so, the story begins…

This is a very well written tale (as were books 1 and 2) with a worthy hero and heroine, both Irish, and many other wonderful characters. Parker’s writing is elegant and descriptive; she brings Australia to life. You will see the vegetation, hear the sounds and smell a country so foreign to Aisleen who is used to living among the English gentry. Parker uses Gaelic words and speech patterns to distinguish the characters and give it an Irish feel, though we are in Australia. And she does a wonderful job with it.

It’s a story of the Irish forced to leave their homes and of rediscovering one’s true nature and one’s dreams. Both Aisleen and Tom have been negatively affected by the English, and the history of this time in Ireland is reflected in the story. Like the others in the trilogy, there’s a bit of magic in it, but it only adds to a splendid historical romance. I did not want this one to end and the trilogy is on my “keeper” shelf.

I highly recommend it and all the books in the trilogy!

The Rose trilogy (and the years they are set in):

Rose of The Mists - 1569
A Rose in Splendor - 1691
The Secret Rose - 1844


  1. Wonderful reviews as always; you're making me want to reread these, and my copies are in storage. Some things are worth digging out.

    1. Anna, I can sympathize. Some of my keepers are in storage and it grates every time I go looking for one. I just discovered Laura Parker but I'll be reading more of hers. I just loved this story and all 3 actually.