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.
If you're not in a critical mood and looking for a historical romance with an element of time travel (there seems to be lots of time-traveling historicals of late, no?) then this book will fit the bill. However, some aspects of the book, for example the romance, were a bit far-fetched for me...although I guess I should expect that when there's time travel involved. I think the main reason why I didn't enjoy The Rose Garden as much as Kearsley's other work is that I've read a very similar premise in A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware and I liked Ware's book much better. I couldn't help but make comparisons the entire time I was reading (both set in bankrupt historical estates on the Cornish coast). And while the premises did diverge, the similarity of the books kept me from enjoying The Rose Garden fully. If you're a Kearsley fan I'm sure you'll like the book for a quick and pleasing read, but I really would recommend Ciji Ware's novel to y'all too.