Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review: Mariana, by Susanna Kearsley

In Mariana, Julia Beckett moves from London to Greywethers, a house in the country that has seemingly called out to her for years. She begins having “flashbacks” of sorts, to when she was Mariana Farr, a young woman living during the Restoration. Not only does Julia live the life of her predecessor, she actually is Mariana, feeling her feelings and thinking her thoughts.

This is the second Susanna Kearsley novel I’ve read (after Sophia’s Secret, which is fantastic, too), and let me just say that she’s won herself another fan. The world of the late 17th century is portrayed in painstaking detail, and Kearsley’s modern-day world is just as meticulously described. I’ve said this about other split-time novels, but it so often happens that books like this one sacrifice the modern-day narrative for that which takes place in the past; not so with this book. Mariana sweeps you off your feet from the very first page.

What I also like about Susanna Kearsley’s books is that her endings are never strictly “happy,” per se (sort of a weird way of thinking, I know), but there’s always the potential for happiness. This sort of ambiguity works, in a strange way; you never know what, exactly, to expect. I can’t wait to read more of Kearsley’s novels; I’ve recently tracked down used copies of Named of the Dragon, The Shadowy Horses, and Seasons of Storms. It’s too bad that Kearsley’s novels aren’t more widely available; she’s a great writer who knows how to tell a good story.


Gwendolyn B. said...

This sounds like an author I need to check out. Thanks for bringing her to my attention!

Marg said...

I have heard such good things about this author, but haven't read her yet. I do have one of her books out to read at the moment. It's just a matter of getting to it!

teabird said...

Just added this book to my tbr list - the book I just finished, People of the Book, had exactly the problem you described: the historical sections were spectacular, and the modern-day sections were - well - not...

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful review! I just added both to my TBR.

Alyce said...

I haven't heard of this novel or author before. I will have to see if I can find it at the library someday soon.

Cathy said...

I just added this book to my TBR shelves. I've come across her books several times and they always intrigued me, so I really appreciated your review!

Jenny said...

This doesn't sound like the kind of thing I would normally pick up, but you make it sound irresistible. Thanks!

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