The Blue Rose

Written by Kate Forsyth
Review by Christine Childs

Kate Forsyth is an internationally acclaimed Australian author. Her novels include Bitter Greens, a retelling of the fairy tale of Rapunzel set in Louis XIV’s France, and The Wild Girl, based on a Grimm Brothers love story, set during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Blue Rose continues to showcase Forsyth’s fascination with France. It covers the years 1788 – 1794 during the terror of the French Revolution and also ventures into imperial China at a time when Britain was desperate to open up trade routes.

Viviane is a young aristocratic Frenchwoman living under the restrictive rules of a cold and cruel father. She is unwillingly betrothed to a rich, old duke but falls in love with David, the newly appointed Welsh gardener. When Viviane’s father is alerted to their blossoming romance, David has to flee the chateau in fear of his life. Her father announces that David has been killed and forces Viviane to marry the Duke. She ends up at the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette as the revolution begins to impact all of their lives.

The Blue Rose follows Viviane’s fight for survival as many of her friends and family face the guillotine. Meanwhile her heartbroken lover travels to China in search of a rare rose, believing he will never see Viviane again.

Forsyth has written a thrilling, action-packed story that held my attention from start to finish. Her rich visual descriptions based on exhaustive research into the French Revolution and Imperial China shine through, as does the depth of her character development.