When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.
Are you hooked yet? And now for Susanna's post:
Can I just start by saying how great it is to be invited here to party with my Casablanca author friends? I’ve been missing you all since our limousine ride and dinner at the Vietnamese restaurant in New York! Thank you so much for having me here for the launch of my time-travel novel, The Rose Garden.
Time travel’s always been something I love, and in my world it’s usually paired with romance. It all comes, I think, of having seen Rod Taylor in The Time Machine at an impressionable age—watching him falling in love with Yvette Mimieux, leaving the world that he knew to be with her, I was enraptured.
It’s no coincidence that my favourite Star Trek episode was “The City on the Edge of Forever”, in which Kirk, Spock and McCoy travel back in time through a portal on an unknown planet, and find themselves on Earth in the 1930s, where Kirk falls in love with predictably tragic results.
My favourite TV movie of the 1970s was a tear-jerker called “The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan”, with Lindsay Wagner travelling back and forth in time with the help of an antique dress, torn between her unfaithful husband in the present and the artist she’s falling in love with in the past.
And that same year (1979), still at an impressionable age, I saw the film “Time After Time”, a thriller with Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells travelling into his future—our present—to chase Jack the Ripper and find love (of course) with a young Mary Steenburgen.
Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor, a gift from my sister one Christmas, was my first introduction to actual time travel romance in print, and I loved it.
I think what I’ve always liked best about this kind of story is simply the concept of love being strong enough to bridge that kind of a barrier. The idea that the right person for you might be living in another time seemed wildly romantic to me when I was a teenager, though I confess that now I’m older I’ve grown just as fascinated by the many challenges and choices a heroine would have to make when trying to decide between the present and the past.
I tried to explore this in scenes like this one from The Rose Garden, placing my modern-day heroine, Eva, on uncertain ground in the past:
The Sally didn’t lie at anchor long. Next morning Jack was off again in his turn, and I stood with Daniel on the hill below the house and watched the sloop’s white sails pass by the harbor of Polgelly far below us, heading east.
‘Where is he taking her?’ I asked, but Daniel only glanced at me and answered noncommittally, ‘I cannot say.’
‘Because you still don’t trust me.’
‘Because,’ he said, ‘’tis best that you do not concern yourself with certain things.’ I felt him glance at me again although I kept my own face turned towards the sea and the departing ship. ‘Are all the women of your time so curious?’
‘The women of my time are many things,’ I told him. ‘Doctors, lawyers, heads of state. We can do anything a man can do.’
I couldn’t tell if he believed me. ‘Heads of state? Well, we have had a queen ourselves, till lately.’
‘Not only queens. I mean elected heads of state, leaders of parliaments.’
‘You don’t believe a woman’s capable?’
He seemed to give the matter thought. ‘’Tis not that I dismiss a woman’s capability,’ he said, ‘nor her intelligence. ’Tis only that I would be fair amazed to see society permit it. I would think that she would find herself opposed by members of my sex, and ridiculed by members of her own.’
I had to smile. ‘Yes, well, that does still happen sometimes. But at least the opportunity is there. We can be anything we choose to be.’
I looked away again. The Sally’s sails had grown much smaller now, a little blot of white against the rolling blue of the Atlantic.
Daniel was still thinking. ‘If in truth there is such freedom for the women of your time, then you must find it difficult to be here.’
I actually hadn’t thought that much about it. I’d only been here for short periods, and I’d had more on my mind than my freedoms and rights. But if I were to stay here forever, I thought, he was right. It would not be an easy adjustment.
To know that my opinions would no longer count for anything in public, and that all the legal rights I’d come to take for granted were no longer mine; to be dependent for support on someone else because I could not earn my living.
Daniel watched my face a moment, then he turned his own gaze out to sea and said, ‘My brother sails to Brittany.’
It was an open declaration of, not just his trust, but his respect.
What do you think would be the most difficult thing about time travel?
Thank you to Susanna for sharing this excerpt from THE ROSE GARDEN! We'll be giving away 2 prize packs of Susanna's books with Sourcebooks, bestseller The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden--just tell us in the comments if you could travel back in time, what time period would you visit and why OR answer Susanna's questions at the end of her post? US and Canada mailing addresses only, and please leave an email address for us to reach you at... we'll choose a winner on Monday!