Rose

Rose

Book - 1996
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Rose is a wonderfully rich and intricate novel set in nineteenth-century Wigan, a town located in the coal country of Lancashire.  Its protagonist, Jonathan Blair, is a mining engineer who has been chased out of Africa for "stealing" from the missionaries' Bible Fund in order to pay off the porter of his expedition into the interior of the Gold Coast; he is now down and out in London. Blair's employer, Bishop Hannay, promises to send him back to Africa if he can find John Maypole, the curate who was engaged to his daughter, Charlotte Hannay, when he disappeared three months previously without explanation.  Charlotte herself is an ill-tempered young woman who takes an instant dislike to Blair when he tries to investigate her fiancé's disappearance.  Other characters include assorted townspeople, miners at the Hannay family mine, and Rose Molyneux, a "pit girl" with whom Blair falls in love. Exceeding even the high expectations of Smith's readers, Rose is richly detailed and compelling--his most accomplished and fascinating novel to date.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c1996.
Edition: 1st trade ed.
ISBN: 9780679426615
0679426612
Characteristics: 364 p. : maps ; 24 cm.

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DBRL_KrisA Jan 09, 2017

I'm a huge fan of Smith's Arkady Renko series (Gorky Park, Red Square, etc.); while this isn't Renko, and doesn't take place in Soviet-era Moscow, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The story takes place in the Victorian-era English coal mining town of Wigan; a local clergyman has gone missing, and Jonathan Blair is tasked with trying to find him. Just like with his Russian novels, Smith does a good job of getting the setting and time of the story right.

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KarenW
Oct 18, 2005

Set in 19th century England, Jonathan Blair is make to go to a mining town where life is brutal and short. Horrific descriptions mingle with every day life in a compelling piece of fiction that I never would otherwise have picked up! Martin Cruz Smith?s affinity with spy novels don?t do anything for me, but this story had me from the very first page. His description of a dinner party in a room lined with coal, contrasts darkly with real life embodied by a very real pit girl named, of course, Rose. Soon the mystery that he is sent to investigate is entangled by his fascination with Rose. The outcome is deeply dark like the coal they are disemboweling the earth for.

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FavouriteFiction Oct 31, 2009

Mining engineer Jonathon Blair returns from Africa's Gold Coast and is asked to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a local curate.

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