China Rose


280 pages
ISBN 0-380-85985-8




Reviewed by Cecile Ghosh

Cecile Ghosh was a librarian living in Rigaud, Quebec.


China Rose, betrothed of Sir Ranulf Cross, moves into his mansion at Portsmouth. Her presence aggravates the existing hatred among the three Cross brothers. She falls in love with Justin Cross, suspected of thievery and family betrayal. After Sir Ranulf banishes Justin from the house, China follows him and learns the truth about his mysterious past, before Justin is captured and jailed. The lovers undergo many trials before they are reunited once more.

China Rose is a page turner. It is filled with intrigue: three brothers vying for China’s attentions, a house with secret passageways, robbery in dark lanes, treason, talk of slave ships and murder. The setting is English Gothic, the hero is tall and handsome, and the heroine is beautiful and dark-haired. Unlike a Barbara Cartland romance, which saves the sex for the last page, China Rose treats us to lusty bedroom scenes in almost every chapter. Besides being tall and handsome, the hero is mysterious, virile, experienced in love, and gentle, while the heroine is a young virgin, strong of personality without being unfeminine, and every man’s fantasy girl.

There are people who never outgrow romance novels. Marsha Canham’s China Rose is part of a long and apparently continuing tradition.


Canham, Marsha, “China Rose,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 3, 2023,