Title: The Lily and the Rose
Author: Jackie French
Published: March 19th 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 stars
Australian heiress Sophie Higgs was ‘a rose of no-man’s land’, founding hospitals across war-torn Europe during the horror that was WW1.
Now, in the 1920s, Sophie’s wartime work must be erased so that the men who returned can find some kind of ‘normality’.
Sophie is, however, a graduate of the mysterious Miss Lily’s school of charm and intrigue, and once more she risks her own life as she attempts to save others still trapped in the turmoil and aftermath of war.
But in this new world, nothing is clear, in politics or in love. For the role of men has changed too. Torn between the love of three very different men, Sophie will face her greatest danger yet as she attempts an impossible journey across the world to save Nigel, Earl of Shillings – and her beloved Miss Lily.
In this sequel to the bestselling Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies, Jackie French draws us further into a compelling story that celebrates the passion and adventure of an unstoppable army of women who changed the world.
One of Australia’s most treasured storytellers is back with a second instalment to her exciting new wartime series. The Lily and the Rose follows on from the successful debut novel in this series, Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies. It is a historical drama that has the capacity to dazzle any reader.
The novel tells the story of Sophie Higgs, a colonial heiress to one of Australia’s most lucrative cattle empires. Sophie is also a graduate of the prestigious Miss Lily’s school of charm. Sophie’s journey is quite a tumultuous one. She must negotiate warn torn Europe to help rescue her close friend, Prinzessin Von Arneburg. Love also comes Sophie’s way in the form of three different suitors. While Sophie learns so much more in terms of friendship, loyalty, love, politics and business, as the world continues to change rapidly around her. This second novel is a wonderful new addition to fans old and new of beloved author Jackie French’s new Miss Lily wartime series.
Although I am a fan of the author of The Lily and The Rose, Jackie French’s extensive work, both in the adult fiction and children’s fiction range, I have to admit that this book is my introduction to the Miss Lily series. Despite this oversight, which I hope to rectify by indulging in a catch up read of the first book in the series, I felt very comfortable reading this, despite the fact that it is the second novel in French’s new series.
I believe there are some familiar faces in this second novel featuring Miss Lily. I am sure this will please established fans of this series. The Lily and the Rose continues on from the previous book and follows the main character of Sophie, a young woman who holds the key to an Australian cattle empire. Sophie is a wonderful character and I warmed to immediately. I admired her personality traits and I loved following her character journey. I also adored the scenes where Sophie had to negotiate her mixed feelings in love. Supporting Sophie are a fantastic band of supporting characters, both male and female. The reader will find it hard pressed not to develop affection for all the characters, main and supporting in this divine new novel.
Jackie French is an accomplished author and as a result, we receive a detailed and authentic account of the historical period in which the book is set (World War I ). French’s descriptions are to be relished and absorbed, I know I did. I also liked that the novel travelled across Europe demonstrating the devastating effects of war almost across the whole globe at this time. It made for a very eye opening read. In particular, I believe French should be applauded for raising our awareness of the changing role of women in both war and post war society. It is a dramatic and worthy aspect of the storyline which is treated with French’s signature detailed approach and poise.
The Lily and the Rose offers readers an ideal dash of romance. I loved how French included a complicated web of romance for lead Sophie to decipher. The inclusion of three potential love matches for Sophie was a great narrative choice on French’s behalf. I completely enjoyed the scenes involving Sophie and her love life. It wasn’t all smooth sailing and I’m glad French chose to move away from a simple happy ever after.
Friendship, companionship, loyalty and pride play a big part in The Lily and the Rose, theme wise. French explores these themes well. What stood out for me was the sections at the beginning of every chapter, where Miss Lily offered an anecdote or musing on key events in life, such as marriage, birth or love. I came to look forward to each Miss Lily quote at the opening of each chapter very much. It helped me race through the pages of this well paced novel.
The Lily and the Rose is a beautifully captured historical based novel. It is sure to delight fans of high society historical dramas. I was drawn to the utterly divine cover of this book but I promise you, an exciting tale awaits any reader who chooses this wartime saga to read.
The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French was published on 19th March 2018 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Lily and the Rose, Jackie French, visit here.
*I wish to thank Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
The Lily and the Rose is book #24 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge
*Book ‘f’ of the a-z author challenge 2018