The Winter Rose
Hyperion, Jan 2009, $24.95
Twelve years may have passed since the Whitechapel serial killings (see THE TEA ROSE), but time does not heal all wounds; as East London remains a slum. On a positive note, idealistic reformers want to make things better for the impoverish masses residing there.
With the help of her fiancé, M.P. Freddie Lytton, recent medical school graduate Dr. India Selwyn Jones opens a practice in Whitechapel tending to the ailing poor especially addicts, but with her goal being the closing of the opium dens. Resident crime chieftain Sid Malone detests these outsiders who think they are better than the locals. He wants this Good Samaritan and all her reformist ilk to leave the neighborhood as their type of good in his mind causes more harm. Besides they interfere with his lucrative businesses. However, he changes his mind about India when she saves his life. They fall in love, but Freddie wants control of India’s fortune and will do anything to insure he gets it. When a pregnant India thinks her beloved Sid is dead, Freddie “gallantly” marries her.
This is an interesting late Victorian romance that besides the subplot above contains what has happened in the dozen years since the events of THE TEA ROSE to key players like Joe and Fiona, who is Sid’s sister and India's friend. The well written story line is character driven by a strong cast, although there is too much happenstance occurring to them. Still fans will enjoy catching up with the Bristows and others while reading about the star-crossed love between Charlie (Sid’s real name) and India.