The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon is one of those books that had been on my radar for some time, so when it was book of the month at my book group recently, I was delighted.

The Rose of Sebastopol is a story set in the mid nineteenth century at the time of the Crimean War. It tells the story of Mariella and Rosa who are cousins and friends from childhood.

In 1855 Rosa Barr who is a headstrong young woman, travels to the Crimea, against the wishes of her family. She is determined to work as a nurse bit she does not return.

Three people have been intimately connected with her. One, her step- brother, Max Stupeley, a soldier and adventurer; the second a Doctor Henry Thelwell, who is Mariella’s fiance. Henry is traumatized by the war, and harbour a secret passion for Rosa, and the third is Mariella herself. Mariella must now uncover the truth about what has happened to the missing nurse.

Mariella’s journey takes her from the domestic quiet of London to the foothills of Italy where she finds Henry seriously ill and she is devastated when she finds out about his infatuation with Rosa. She then travels on to the ravaged Russian landscape of the Crimea, where she struggles to discover what has happened to her captivating cousin and uncover the secrets of those who loved her.

Val Penny

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