Rosebrook Chronicles: The Hidden Stories – Helen J. Christmas

Hey guys!

I hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I do! My boyfriend and I have been driving around in Norway for a week, and now we’re relaxing at my family’s cabin with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. The weather is splendid, and one simply can’t have a better Norwegian summer than this! I’m reading, as you probably have guessed since I’m posting this, and this book was quite a sad story. There should be a limit to how much characters can suffer within the binding of a book. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads.

London 1960. Robin is hypnotised by a dazzling moon and it sets him on a quest to seek a better life. Fearful of his future, he puts his trust in the wrong person, clueless of the trap he is falling into. 

Dublin 1968. Two Irish orphans are separated by the Church. Six-year-old Bess panics at the thought of being sent to London. An English family want to adopt her but if only it didn’t mean abandoning her elder brother…
Peter meanwhile, has never forgotten her. Fighting to survive in a brutal orphanage, he risks a dangerous escape to reach the mainland and with the law on his tail, he heads for the Capital to find her. 

When I started reading this book I expected a horror story, and in many ways, it is what this book is. On Goodreads the author herself has written: These victims never had a voice. I wrote this book to give them one. The story takes place between the 1970s and 1990s in England, and I have to admit that my historical knowledge of British politics, which plays a semi-central part of this story, is severely lacking. It would have been beneficial to know a tat more than when Margaret Thatcher came into power. I will claim, however, that you don’t have to know a lot about British politics in order to read the book, but I will state that it increases the value of your reading experience in my opinion. I believe this book is very accurate for the historical period the plot is placed in. We hear a lot about the Catholic Church, the troubles in Ireland and the British society trying to rebuild itself after the war. Christmas gives her reader lifelike descriptions of what life was like for the different social classes, how things in the lower classes and people who depended on Social Services experienced this particular period in British history.

Continuing with the historical period, I believe that the faiths of our three characters are quite realistic for many people whose stories we’ve never heard. I’ll not spoil our main characters faith because that ruins the entire book, but I will say that I’ve never experienced characters that go through so much suffering in one lifetime. I know that all stories are different and that people today experience a lot of horrible things throughout their lifetime as well, but certain things stand out to me as horrible on a different level and several of these things we encounter in this book. Our three main characters are all interesting in their own way, but from time to time we view their story through other character’s perspective which I found confusing more than once. These other characters sometimes play a role directly in our characters life while at other times its more indirectly. I will argue with myself that these different perspectives give the story depth and perspective, but I still found it a bit confusing and frustrating from time to time while reading the book.

The Rosebrook Chronicles is a good story. The plot is intriguing and the book touches upon topics which are quite hot in our modern society. Like I said above, I believe the faiths of our main characters are quite realistic for that time period and I have rarely felt so much for any character as I have with these three. I mean, how much can go wrong in one’s life?! I felt several times during the story that NOW we have to reach a good ending soon, but Christmas throws hurdle after hurdle in their way and the result is that the reader sits there and wonders if there ever will be a good ending. Some readers might find this tiresome, and I thought I would too at some point since I know myself quite well after almost 25 years in company with myself, but I actually got more intrigued by all this drama. When I finished the book I was left wondering how on earth our society is able to screw over some of its citizens in the amount this book portrays, and I realized that it is quite possible because there will always be some slimeballs out there who knows how and when to take advantage of the system and people within and outside the system. Credit to Christmas for portraying this in an excellent way!

From what I understood The Rosebrook Chronicles is a part of a thriller series but it can also be read as a standalone novel. The author herself says that somebody might view this book as some kind of prequel, but I won’t follow up with the other books simply because I’m not the biggest thriller reader and I’ve got quite a lot on my readingplate at the moment. Actually, I take that back. I just saw the covers of the thrillers and they look very good…..Why do I do this to myself?! However, I will recommend The Rosebrook Chronicles if you enjoy historical novels placed in the UK, maybe especially if you know a bit more about politics than I do, haha. It is also an interesting book if you enjoy reading about changes in society, and how these changes have affected the different social classes. I found this book enjoyable, although it took me a bit of time to get into it, I enjoyed the storyline and I learned quite a bit about how the British society has changed over the years.

Published: 2019

Genre: Social History/Domestic Noir

Theme: Abuse, religion, society, politics

Author Bio 
Helen J. Christmas lives on the south coast with her husband. With a love of writing since childhood, she wrote her decade-spanning thriller series, Same Face Different Place, between 2011 and 2017. This five-book mystery suspense series explores British culture and social history from the 70s to the 90s. Inspired by the Bronte sisters in 2016, Helen decided she wanted to develop her writing skills by compiling a book of character-driven short stories. In 2018 she completed Rosebrook Chronicles (TheHidden Stories), a unique novel which gives extra background information to her series. The 16th
Century cottage in which Helen lives with her husband (restored in 1991) provides endless inspiration for writing, something she fits around her family and social life. Helen is a self-employed web designer and works from home with her husband, Peter, and she enjoys blogging, country walks, photography and cookery.

Social Media Links
Website: http://www.samefacedifferentplace.com
Blog: https://samefacedifferentplace.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.helenchristmas/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFDPBeginnings
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5838032.Helen_J_Christmas
Pinterest Book 1: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/helenxmas/same-face-different-place-visions-book-2-by-helen-/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenchristmas7/

– The Book Reader

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