Here’s yet another indie book review. I recently just fell in love with The Earl of Brass by Kara Jorgensen, and so I had to read the sequel, The Winter Garden. Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 5 stars
Immanuel Winter and Emmeline Jardine become intertwined in ways only they can truly understand. Both are kidnapped by one who believes they’ve unlocked an elixir that grants immortality, and he experiments on them to further prove his claims. After the ordeal, the two must put together the pieces in their own way and in their own time. Luckily, the brilliant Hawthornes and Adam Fenice are there to rescue the two from physical and mental torture and assist them in discovering their captor and torturer to bring him to justice.
What I enjoyed:
So in her first novel, Jorgensen highlights the intrigue of Victorian England’s imperialism through Lord Sorrell’s passion for traveling the world while preserving and respecting indigenous cultures. In The Winter Garden, we are surrounded by another appropriate theme of English culture, spiritualism and the obsession with immortality. Spoiler alert: she masters this beautifully, marrying real-world knowledge of Victorian English spiritualism and steampunk references, such as a mechanical “devil” that targets patrons for their souls.
I also don’t want to spoil too much of the novel, but Jorgensen also beautifully presents the hardships and realities of homosexuality in this time period. Multiple characters are forced to grapple with their viewpoints on the topic in a way that is real and applicable today. Bear in mind, this involves descriptions of homosexuality and romance, but I felt this was tastefully presented.
I also enjoyed the character arc for Emmeline Jardine. Even after being brutally kidnapped, she’s still a very young, naive, and selfish teenager. Pitted against the forward-thinking Doctor Eliza Hawthorne, we see the continual struggle of women trying to find their individuality and personality in a world that views them as mothers, sisters, and wives, and only that. Throughout the novel, we see Emmeline change her world view and thus becomes braver and smarter when she’s finally face to face again with her captor.
My Final Thoughts
So many amazing themes and topics, so little time! That’s probably why our favorite characters will once again return in the next novel, The Earl and the Artificer. Luckily, it’s been out since January of this year, so you and I can immediately start enjoying it! Speaking of enjoying novels, I would recommend reading The Earl of Brass before reading The Winter Garden, but it isn’t mandatory to fully understand the latter’s plot. It merely makes it more enjoyable to see reoccurring characters return to help our new protagonists.
If you’d like to read this or other works by Kara Jorgensen, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel? Do you have your own thoughts about it? Share with me in the comments!