Skip to main content

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!
Anonymous said…
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then jewelry sabo schmuck
is her soul sister! Jewelry is such a powerful accessory thomas sabo charm
that many choose one fabulous piece and thomas sabo onlineshop
build an outfit around it. thomas sabo glaube liebe hoffnung
You can ruin a perfectly great outfit by wearing thomas sabo online shop deutschland
the wrong jewelry.Before we get into what and how to where jewelry thomas sabo armbänder
there are some no-nos that you should be aware of. schmuck thomas sabo
Relax – these are too tough to follow!Don’t overdo it with thomas sabo shop
jewelry. Keep it simple. Wear no more than one big piece schmuck thomas sabo ketten
such as earrings or necklace.Don’t wear an ankle bracelet thomas sabo ohrschmuck
or toe ring with a dressy outfit.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy:, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…