The Rose of Sebastopol – Katherine McMahon

A good read, featuring a variety of journeys – emotional, physical and geographical. Dual plotlines lie at the heart of the novel which revolve around cousins Rosa Barr and Mariella Lingwood whose stories unfold as events take them from rural and suburban Victorian England to the frontline of the Crimean War. Plotline one starts in 1844 with Mariella’s account of the first summer she and her mother spent with Rosa and Rosa’s mother and stepfather in Stukely Hall, and remerges as plotline two ten years later with the unexpected arrival of Rosa and her mother in the Lingwood’s Clapham house. These two plot stands entwine themselves throughout the course of the book.

There is plenty of historical detail, covering medical and military developments, the growth of female emancipation and Victorian morals, and an engaging range of characters with feisty Rosa and reserved Mariella at opposite ends of many a spectrum. The Rose of Sebastopol