• The Thornless Rose

  • Elizabethan Time Travel Series, Book 1
  • By: Morgan O'Neill
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Brook
  • Length: 14 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon, a dashing RAF flight surgeon, who disappeared from London in 1945? Kidnapping? Murder? Or did Brandon merely vanish of his own free will, seeking another life? 

American teacher Anne Howard is stunned by a different explanation - that her British grandmother's long-lost fiance was unwillingly wrenched back through time to Elizabethan England. Anne knows time travel is nonsense - until she is handed a fresh-cut thornless rose, a bloom extinct for over 400 years! And then, when the impossible happens, and Anne journeys back to 1560 London, she must somehow survive encounters with royal enemies, accusations of witchcraft, and the possibility of never returning home. 

In the midst of the chaos, she meets Brandon. Drawn into the perilous web of Elizabethan court life, they must confront their growing feelings for each other, complicated by poignant familial ties, while struggling with the shared danger of knowing what the future holds.

©2017 Morgan O'Neill (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Thornless Rose

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but flawed

The plot here is interesting, though with some flaws. The near constant threat of rape - or fact of it, though thankfully not described - got a little tiresome, even if it may have been reality in an era where women were not valued. And some of the relationships moved along much too quickly to be realistic.

My real reasons for less than 4 stars are the narrator and the need for some editing. The narrator has an inflection habit that I won't detail so as not to make it stand out to other readers, but I found it annoying. Also, several words were either incorrect (the wrong name at a significant moment, grammatical errors) or mispronounced (coals are burned in a "brazier," not a "brassiere"!).

If these things can be overlooked, it's a decent listen for the reader who enjoys time travel romance with an engaging plot. But don't expect Outlander.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Intrique, romance and history all rolled up in one

This story tells of life, of challenges and the will of people to overcome them. The story is full of twists, turns, and adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will do so again in a year. It is worth the time!

6 people found this helpful

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Narration was amazing!

The story was interesting, but not quite gripping. My mind would tend to wonder so I'd have to roll it back and listen again. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind, but the narration would be worth a listen because she was great! The author did her historical research, which was impressive if you'd like to come away with some knowledge about the 16th century England.

2 people found this helpful

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Flawed Heroine and Actively Evil Antagonist

I very much enjoyed the premise of this story, as well as most of the characters. Tutor England is the historical time period of which i have the most knowledge, which makes the experience so much more engaging. I enjoyed the description

However Anne is a very difficult character. She feels cobbled together, one moment she is bold and brazen the next shes as meek as a mouse. My least favorite part about her is this sense of superiority she takes on in part three and four. She goes around thinking about how much better she and Jonathan are compared to people who have 400 years less knowledge and are doing their best with what they know. Instead of being understanding and kind and trying to enlighten others she jumps into saying things like "You can't be serious!" They don't know better so they are entirely serious.

My second problem with this story is the Antagonist, they have literally no redeeming qualities. They seem to be on a sociopathic level of maliciousness, which might not bother others, but to me it makes them so one dimensional. If they were a fanatic or someone who seemed like a sociopath from the outside but when you got to their pov, had some sort of justification for their behavior other than self interest and sadism then they would have more depth and be less nauseating to listen to. I found myself wanting to fast forward through any mention of them because their behaviour was so despicable and I had no way of understanding what would cause someone to exhibit such behavior.

2 people found this helpful

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I’ve a smile on my face & this book put it there

Morgan O’Neil & Elizabeth Brook a fabulously written time travel tale with narration to match it. Thanks to you both.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Could not put it down!

I love history, especially History from this time period. I also love stories about love, time travel! This book had me hooked. It is a wonderfully written and historically accurate even though fictional. The narrator was wonderful! She did amazing with the voices, accents, and she really helped visualize this amazing story. I wish they would make this into a mini series! On to book two!!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Graphic and Repetitive Sexual Violence

The concept of time travel is so intriguing, especially when there is romance and suspense. The overall premise for this book is great, and there is obvious chemistry between the two main characters. However, the antagonist in the story is portrayed time and time again as a violent sexual predator, with one scene where a woman is actually murdered after being raped. I wasn't counting, but I bet there are ten times when the antagonist attempts or succeeds at rape. The sexual violence ruined what could have been a wonderful storyline.

History writes the antagonist as a brute who did rape women, however this story goes overboard with the seemingly constant threat of sexual violence.

I think this book should come with a trigger warning and that the audiobook rated Mature Audiences only.

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Realistic time-travel romance

This is one of those time-travel stories where you can imagine yourself trying to adapt to the past century. The book was enchanting, full with suspense and mystery.

If I have to be picky, I'd wish for a slower romance, it seemed a bit too instant for my taste, yet the author did it so well that it almost did not bother me.

The narrator could have shown more difference between male and female voices, sometimes it was difficult to tell who was speaking. Otherwise, she does a fabulous job.

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great read

loved it and the story reading was excellent and Love the history of it too

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dnf

I lost interest with 6 hours left in the story. there isn't one thing I can point to to say why I didn't like it but I didn't. the narrator is fine the story is meh. I don't usually listen to time travel storylines but I have enjoyed several before so it wasn't that

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  • Elaine M.
  • 11-11-20

The Narration Let’s it Down

I don’t usually leave negative reviews, but I can’t get past the narration, it would have been so much better having a reader with an English accent attempt one character with an American accent than have an American reader attempt multiple English accents, unless this is meant for the U.S market it doesn’t work. A lot of the words are mis-pronounced (if you’re English), correct if you’re American - sadly returning the book which again is unusual for me. Sorry to be so negative.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cathryn
  • 06-12-20

Och aye the Italian!!! Where are you from????

The narrator struggles dreadfully with any accent other than American which I take therefore to be her own!!!

It is such a shame because her characterisation and the colour she brings to the story with her inflection and story telling is great but then it all comes falling apart at the accents !!!

Personally I would have preferred no attempt at any of the accents than the poor ones she gave.

However if you can get your ears to accept this this is a good book and great start to an ongoing story line, i just hope that the narrator was not employed for them all!!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lesley
  • 05-08-22

Interesting genre and captivating story

This is a genre I think about often. The what if I could go back in time and see it?
It brought a lot of things to the forefront, like language, fashion, and beliefs.
The story was captivating and I thorough enjoyed it. The narration was a bit annoying due to the American pronunciation and word flow but I got used to it after a while. Looking forward to listening to the next story

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  • Paddy mcGrath
  • 12-11-21

great idea but so badly narrated

I could not get past chapter 2 .why get an American to narrate a Welsh historical novel .it was so bad she sometimes made the same character become Irish or Slightly Scottish or an American with a speech impediment .better had she read in her own accent .The story was unbelievably corny .unfortunately bad mistake to buy it .

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-19

A great Story

I am loving these time displacement stories lately and this one does not disappoint - it is well written that captures the era an draws you in - it has the historical references along with the baddie and the cliff hanger at the end.
The narrator had an odd inflection to her voice which was a bit off putting at first but seemed to stop mid way - unless i just got used to it
Overall very happy with this and look forward to the next installment