The Wild Rose

Publisher: Hyperion

Year: 2011

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London, 1914. World War I looms on the horizon, women are fighting for the right to vote, and explorers are pushing the limits of endurance in the most forbidding corners of the earth.

The Wild Rose is part three of the sweeping, multi-generational Tea Rose saga. Many beloved characters from both books continue their adventures in The Wild Rose. With myriad twists and turns, thrilling cliffhangers, and fabulous period detail and atmosphere, The Wild Rose concludes an unforgettable trilogy.

The Story

In a volatile world descending into war live three exceptional people:

Willa Alden, a passionate mountain climber who lost her leg while summiting Kilimanjaro with Seamus Finnegan, and who will never forgive him for saving her life.

Seamus Finnegan, a polar explorer who tries to forget Willa as he courts a beautiful young school teacher back home in England.

Max von Brandt, a handsome German sophisticate who moves in high society London, but has a secret agenda.

Seamus Finnegan and Max von Brandt both loved Willa Alden, and both men lost her. Neither expects to ever see her again, but when a catastrophic event calls Willa home to London, expectations are smashed, promises broken, and none of the three will ever be the same. As the last golden days of the Summer of 1914 give way to the gathering clouds of war, Willa, Seamus, and Max find their lives forever intertwined in a lethal web of forbidden loves, hidden loyalties, and dangerous lies.

  • "Donnelly cleverly intertwines the stories from The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose to remind us of what went on before this even-more tumultuous and deliciously long saga. This time around, Donnelly has leaned more toward Indiana Jones than Barbara Taylor Bradford, and the result is a perfect vacation read."

  • "Enjoy the ride: 600-plus pages of romance, harrowing exploits, cinematic backdrops, cliffhangers, and plot twists."

    Publisher's Weekly  
  • "Donnelly skillfully integrates historical detail while entwining multiple plotlines in a fast-paced narrative. Readers of the earlier books will be especially eager for this volume, which should also earn the author new fans."

    Library Journal 

The Wild Rose is part of the sweeping, multi-generational saga that began with The Tea Rose and continued with The Winter Rose. Many beloved characters from both books continue their adventures in The Wild Rose. With myriad twists and turns, thrilling cliffhangers, and fabulous period detail and atmosphere, The Wild Rose provides a highly satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable trilogy.

The Inspiration 

People often ask me this:

“Of all your main characters, which one is the most like you?”

And my answer is always – or rather, was always – “None of them. They’re all too good, too smart, too nice, and too noble to be like me.”

But now, with the publication of The Wild Rose, that answer might have changed.

Willa Alden, the main female character in the book, is not Fiona in The Tea Rose. Or India in The Winter Rose. Or Mattie in A Northern Light.

She is, I think, a bit like Andi in Revolution.

And a bit like me.

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She’s not always good. Or nice. She doesn’t always do the right thing. She has very strong emotions, and they sometimes get her into trouble. She loves her work, her own company, Lawrence of Arabia, and the world’s untamed places.

Don’t get me wrong: she’s hardly autobiographical. I can’t live up to Willa any more than I could live up to Fiona or India. Willa’s much braver and tougher than I am. She can endure great physical hardship, she can ride camels and motorbikes, and she doesn’t whine. But with her many faults and foibles, Willa’s someone I can really relate to.

And I think that’s what inspired me to write a book about her. I wanted – perhaps needed – the challenge of writing a character who’s not always so good. Who copes with heartbreak and disappointment badly. Who can sometimes be willful, selfish, and stubborn. Who has regrets.

It occurs to me now that I conjured both Willa and Andi – two challenging characters with some similar issues – at a turbulent time in my own life. My daughter had just been born and my emotional armor, my protective skin, was gone; it vanished the moment I laid eyes on her. I was overcome with love and joy, of course, but her helplessness and innocence also made me feel acutely, painfully, and like never before, the hardness and harshness of this world.

Out of this raw new perspective grew Willa Alden. She was a tough character to get to know, and an even tougher one to write. She was a completely new sort of heroine for me. But I’m glad I got to know her. And I’m glad I wrote her story. She showed me a grittier beauty. A grace that’s not simple or sugar-coated. A truth that doesn’t come easy – but is all the more true for it.

Of all my characters, she’s the one I’d most like to meet for a drink and a long talk in Mombasa, Rongbuk, Cairo, London, or most anywhere else.

I suppose, in a way, that conversation is The Wild Rose.

I hope you’ll join us.

Click for an excerpt of The Wild Rose.

Buy The Wild Rose from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local independent bookseller.


  1. Karin says:

    Thanks for your reply Jennifer! I Already contacted your publisher and it has to do with rights!. I listnen the books in English, but the European rights are not fixed for the last part u fortunately. Luckily it will be Holliday soon, I think I might find enough time and energy to actually read instead of listening during chores and activities 😉 Thanks again for writing them! And please I don’t mind at all if you try another historical doman 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Karin says:

    Hai Jennifer!
    I just want to thank you for writing these lovely historical novels. Love them. Read the Tearose a couple of years ago, than became a mother and ‘forgot’ about reading the last couple of 4 years. Now I’ve discovered audio books, and I love it. I ‘read’ during chores, sports and traveling to and from work. Just finished Winterrose on Storytel and am excited to go on with Wildrose. But I can’t find a app who has it in their library. Can you help me further? Greetings from the Netherlands!

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Thank you for your sweet note, Karin! I’m afraid I don’t know where to find the Wild Rose in the Netherlands — I would suggest you ask your local bookstore, who can probably find out if it’s published there and by whom. Not all my books are published in all languages, unfortunately — but hopefully there’s a Dutch Wild Rose so you can finish the series! ?

  3. Madi DeBee says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I read this trilogy once a year since I was in High School. And now I’ve gotten my husband hooked! He’s on The Winter Rose and I’m constantly bugging him asking what part he’s on so we can discuss. As I read this trilogy I can just picture it as a limited series. Your words are mesmerizing and captive which makes it so easy to visualize on the screen. I visited East London a few years back and thought only of this trilogy trying to capture what your characters saw and felt. My husband’s folks live in the mountains so Seamie and Willa’s story was an easy and welcomed transition from the beloved London setting. Thank you for creating these characters and making them come to life. Each character holds a special place in my heart. Do you have any updates on future Rose books (or other historical fiction) and updates on the film adaptation?

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      No updates on the film adaptation, though I understand it’s moving along (I’m not really in the loop … but I’ll share anything I can when I get it!). As for more historical fiction, yes, I would very much like to do another historical novel and I’m sure I will one day (hopefully soon!).

  4. Hope says:

    Hi Jennifer. I’ve loved your Tea Rose Trilogy since the very beginning, I recently ordered the whole trilogy so my sister could read them as well. Have you thought about making any more books about the characters? It would make an amazing Netflix series or movie!

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      I agree it would make a great series! The rights have been purchased for development – so hopefully one day it will happen!!

      As far as another TR book … no immediate plans, but maybe one day!

  5. Mary Lou Rowe says:

    Excellent writting. Your style reminds me of Delderfield.,who I enjoyed reading.Have not been able to put the Rose series down. read the first two books in 10 days. Waiting on the Wild Rose,can’t wait!

  6. Alison Bliss says:

    I have absolutely fallen in love with each and every character in the Rose Series! I absolutely agree–I think it would be a fantastic Netflix series! I have to admit I was so sad to see them end….I hope you can add to the trilogy with James as you mentioned above.

    Thank you for your gorgeous prose and amazing imagination. I so enjoy your writing!!!

  7. Katrina Boudreau says:

    I love your book it is amazing and a got an A on my book report you are amazing and talented as a writer I love you and your books thank you creating them

  8. Laila says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    The Rose series is by far my favorite books ever! That you for your incredibly beautiful writing that has given me invaluable moments of joy and have inspired me.
    Are you planning on writing any more adult historical novels…or perhaps revisiting some Rose characters?

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      Thank you, Laila! There are so many things I’d love to do, and writing another Rose book (or Rose-like book) is one of them! (And there’s even a young Finnegan character we meet at the end of the Wild Rose who I’m very curious to hear more from!?) Maybe one day I’ll be able to … stay tuned!

  9. Andrea says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I’m savoring the Rose series because I don’t know what I’ll do when it ends! Thank you for writing such a vivid, captivating story!
    Have the television/film rights been sold? Given the popularity of historical series at the moment on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, the Rose series needs to be brought to life on the screen! I can see all of these characters so clearly in my mind.

    • Jennifer Donnelly says:

      So can I!! The rights have been optioned, which is the first step in what can be a long process of moving from print to film. But I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to share some news about the Tea Rose on the big (or little) screen soon!!

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