Molly’s Letter (A Tea Rose Story)

Publisher: Wild Rumpus

Year: 2023

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New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer Donnelly returns to the unforgettable world of her beloved first novel, The Tea Rose.

The Story

It’s the summer of 1891, New York City, in the early days of Fiona Finnegan’s marriage to Nicholas Soames. Though their marriage is an unconventional one and the wounds of the past are not fully healed, the two best friends are happy together, consumed with chasing their dreams and building a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

When Fiona senses a quiet love blossoming between her widowed uncle, Michael Finnegan, and his neighbor, Mary Munro, she’s thrilled and hopes that Michael will soon propose to Mary.

But one night, at a family supper, a surprise announcement tears these hopes asunder.

Will Mary be lost to a determined suitor? Or will Fiona and Nick find a way to unite two souls who belong together but are held apart by grief, pride, and too many words left unspoken?

Molly’s Letter is a love letter to family, friends, and the bonds that outlast loss, pain, and sometimes, even life itself.

Molly’s Letter is the first in a series of novella-length stories written straight from the heart by Jennifer Donnelly for readers of her Tea Rose saga. Each one is inspired by – and set within – the epic world of The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose.

Pre-Order Molly’s Letter Now

Pre-order an ebook now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or a signed print edition from Jennifer's website - other retailers coming soon!

The Inspiration

Molly’s Letter was inspired by two simple, powerful words: my readers. The book is a love letter to everyone who ever wrote me, or emailed me, or posted a comment to tell me how much they loved the Rose books, and how they wished they could spend more time with those characters. That kind of encouragement, that depth of love and loyalty…well, it’s nothing short of overwhelming, and I hope that Molly’s Letter speaks to my readers’ hearts in the exact same way that the Rose books do.

Molly’s Letter FAQ

For those of you wondering what I’m up to with this out-of-the-blue addition to the Tea Rose Saga, here’s a quick, spoiler-free Q&A:

Q: Is Molly’s Letter a new Tea Rose Saga book?

A: Yes! But it’s not a 700-page novel. It’s a 120-page novella, and it’s the first in a series of new stories set in the world of the Rose books. Each story centers on an episode in the lives of these characters who might’ve been mentioned in the Rose books, but not deeply delved into. Or they might not have been mentioned, and might be entirely new – even to me! I’m calling these stories Rose Petals – all parts of the larger bouquet that is the Rose Saga.

Q: Does Molly’s Letter feature major characters from The Tea Rose

A: It sure does! Fiona Finnegan and Nick Soames return in this story, as do Fiona’s Uncle Michael and her friend Mary Munro. Plus a new character – but I can’t say too much about him…yet!

Q: Where is the story set?

A: Molly’s Letter is set in New York, within the timeline of The Tea Rose, in the gap between Parts Two and Three, in the summer of 1891.

Q: What is Molly’s Letter about?

A: The story tells us how two characters in The Tea Rose, Michael Finnegan and Mary Munro, try to find love again after each has lost a beloved spouse, and how Fiona and Nick try to help them…but that help might be too little too late. The story contains one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever written, and one of the funniest, too – at least, if you like slapstick humor as much as I do. And it ponders an important question: It is possible to get a second chance at love?

Q: Where and when can I buy Molly’s Letter?

A: When – October 3. Where – On Amazon and Barnes & Noble as an ebook ($3.99); at your favorite bookstore (online or brick-and-mortar) in hardcover and paperback ($19.99 and $9.99, respectively); and on my website, if you’d like a signed hardcover or paperback copy (same pricing as unsigned editions)!  If you’re not in the U.S., you should still be able to find it at most retailers (online or brick-and-mortar) – the pricing may be a bit different in your currency, but in the same ballpark.

Q: Can I get a pre-order copy?

A: Yes! You can pre-order an ebook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and a signed print edition (paperback or hardcover) on my website.  Other retailers (including your local bookstore) will be able to offer it in the next few days. If you wish to pre-order a signed print copy from my site – and I hope you do! – please do so early so I can make sure I have enough on hand to fill your order as soon as possible after the book releases on October 3.  I hope to have books here within a week of release – as soon as I get them, I’ll sign them ship them right out to you!

Q: Are you publishing these without a traditional publisher?

A: Yes! These aren’t traditional books – they are a collection of related but independent stories, I don’t know what all of them are going to be, how many I’m going to do, or how long they’re going to be. And that’s not a model for traditional publishing. If my Rose Petal story is 100 pages long, I want to publish 100 pages … and price it accordingly. So I have started a small publishing company called Wild Rumpus and our first project is to produce these Rose Petal stories. I’m a little nervous to be doing this independently, to be honest (I mean, what do I know about the business of publishing?!) … but it’s incredibly exciting and liberating at the same time!

Q: So, we have Molly’s Letter with Fiona and Nick … what other Tea Rose Saga stories are we going to see and when?

A: Well, I don’t entirely know, but I do have several ideas, and they span all three Rose Saga books. I’m working on the second one right now … and it’s set in the Winter Rose and featuring (who else?) Sid and India. I’m biting my tongue to not spill the whole plot right here because I LOVE those two and I’m so enjoying being with them again … but I think I better write it first! When will it be out? Well, when it’s done 😉. Seriously, my hope is to do one of these every few months … so maybe around the holidays or very early 2024.

Pre-Order Molly’s Letter Now

Pre-order an ebook now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or a signed print edition from Jennifer's website - other retailers coming soon!


  1. Brandy says:

    I stumbled across The Tea Rose one day in a public library – gosh, I don’t even know how many years ago! I fell head over heels in LOVE, and not only do I own EVERY book you’ve written, I’ve also purchased and gifted several more copies to family, friends, and coworkers! Your works never disappoint, and I’m always so thrilled to share your stories with those I love. I just re-read The Tea Rose again (for the umpteenth time) and as I was all-out bawling over Paddy, my husband said, “How do you tell someone it’s okay – it’s not real – when those are very real tears?” It made me laugh in spite of my heartbreak for the Finnegans, but it also highlights the gravitational pull of the vivacious world you’ve created as we turn each page. To say I’m eagerly anticipating scooping up each Rose Petal as it drops (in hardcover, hopefully) would be an understatement! Thank you for bringing these worlds to life for us — I simply cannot wait for the adventures to continue!

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Thanks for sharing, Brandy! It’s stories like yours that brought me back to the Tea Rose family … but I didn’t realize how much I would love spending time with them again (I’m well into writing the next Rose Petal now)! Yes, Molly’s Letter will be available in hardcover — just waiting on the proof copy from the printer now and if it looks good, I’ll make it available (you should be able to order it online or from your local bookstore on release — October 3 — and I’ll be selling signed copies directly from my website!).

  2. Ross says:

    There’s a special place for The Tea Rose at the beginning of my relationship with my wife – I ordered and read it before our first date, and she later themed a date in London around places featured in the book, including fish and chips on the Old Steps!

    However, she doesn’t really read books on Kindle. Is there any chance that these Rose Petals may be available in paperback or print on demand at some point?

    Many thanks for revisiting these old friends!

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      What a lovely story, Ross – thank you for sharing!❤️ Yes, all the Rose Petals will be available in print editions as well as ebooks — starting with Molly’s Letter when it is released on October 3. It should be available on Amazon in paperback on release day, and your local bookstore can get hardovers and paperbacks through their usual channels (Ingram is the distributor) — either that day or very soon thereafter! Stay tuned for details — if you subscribe to my mailing list, I’ll keep you posted!

  3. Janet says:

    I’m so excited! YEAH! This has to be one of my favorite series. I can’t wait to add this book to my reading list. Thank you so much!!

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