East London, 1888 – a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger’s son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona’s life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan’s tea trade. But Fiona’s old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.
Countess of Monte-Christo…
Revenge is sweet. And the good girl does not finish last!
The magic of the story is in the telling. This long long long book finishes too soon, that’s a good test; and it stays with you for a while, another good test; and characters you know like you met them, some you love to love, and some you love to hate, another good test; and the setting, Dickens!
I read this book right after Rita died, and, well, it made me love, and miss, her even more: I wanted to give it to her, she would have loved it so much.
It is so well written, you gloss over the bits that fit less well, details really, which you don’t see while you’re on the roller-coaster; Ms Donelly plays your emotions like a harp (keep a box of Kleenex handy) and you stop resisting her after a few chapters (and you learn so many things, like who invented the teabag…?).
Enjoy the ride!
My Gemstone Rating: