It is easy to step into the world of Lucinda’s Riley’s epic romantic sagas. The Midnight Rose is a stunning historical fiction novel crossed with a time slip storyline. It is grand in scale, spanning some four different generations and shifts from the exotic palaces of India, to a refined English estate. Linking these generations and locales together is the story of an intelligent and caring Indian girl on the cusp of adulthood. Anahita Chavana is a companion to an Indian princess, she accompanies the princess to England, where the princess Indira is sent to complete her education at a prestigious London boarding school. England is vastly different to India as Anahita quickly learns and consequently she struggles to adjust to her new climate. On the other hand, Indira thrives in her new home. When the war looms, Indira and Anahita are sent away from the city of London to a stately home in the English countryside for refuge. At Astbury Hall Anahita falls in love with the heir of the estate, Lord Donald Astbury. As war and circumstance tear the couple apart, each finds their love for one another will remain with them forever and their future generations. Running alongside Anahita’s historical thread, is a present day narrative involving a young American actress who is filming a movie at Astbury Hall. When strange occurrences begin to happen, along with the appearance of Anahita’s great Grandson Ari, secrets of the past beg to become unlocked.
So once again Lucinda Riley has delivered her readers with a spellbinding tale of love lost, secrets and family history. Riley even goes that one step further in The Midnight Rose, conjuring a romance tinged with a slightly gothic flavour. This multi time period novel moves deftly between past and present, but it is the time frame set in the past the held me captive. Riley’s setting descriptions are sublime, I adored the contrast in backdrops from the hot sultry palaces of India, to the scenic English Astbury estate. Riley also delivers spot on descriptions of her historical time frame, from the social customs and to significant world events. Character voices, particularly Anahita’s is strong in The Midnight Rose. It was a joy to read her colourful journey across the ages. Anahita’s story provides the reader with much insight into class, race inequality and economic issues of times past. The Midnight Rose also contains a bewitching love story that is fraught with complications. I believe that any reader who picks up The Midnight Rose will suffer from an inability to put the book down until end to discover how all it pans out.
The Midnight Rose is sure to delight romance and historical fiction fans. Adding in the extra flavour of cross continents and the picture perfect settings of India and Britain, this is a novel I enjoyed from cover to cover.