Tuesday, May 29, 2012


 Julia has known her house from the time she was five years old - not her family home, but the home she is supposed to live in. Just before her thirtieth birthday, Julia becomes the owner. As she settles into her new life in the country, she begins to have flashbacks to the seventeenth century and a beautiful woman who once lived in her house.

As the episodes continue, Julia’s brother suggests the possibility of reincarnation, that Julia possesses the soul of Mariana, the beautiful woman of her episodes. As Julia spends more and more time in Mariana’s world she is convinced of this herself and she must untangle to mystery of Mariana’s past in order to discover what fate has in store for her this time around.
Maybe the idea of reincarnation is implausible, maybe it’s not. The idea of two soul mates meeting again in different lives is such a romantic notion it makes you want the idea to be plausible after all. Mariana is a book of eternal love, of a love so great it spans centuries.

This is the second book of Kearsley’s that I’ve read and she has such a powerful ability to weave a beautiful, haunting story that will grip you from the first page. To say I loved this book would be an understatement. This is the kind of book that will pull you in immediately and won’t let go long after you’ve finished.  

The novel is broken into two storylines, the past as Mariana and the present as Julia. Both plotlines are wonderfully intriguing and filled with a host of secondary characters that compliment both storylines. The plot flows smoothly from past to present and the author weaves both together with an expert hand.

There were parts I wish would have been speeded up a bit but I understand groundwork needs to be put down and the story moves along fairly quickly. I sped through the book in two sittings. While I did believe in Mariana and Richard’s love, I would have liked to see a bit more of their interactions together, of the development of their love, instead we see the beginning and the end, and I needed more middle.

The ending has left me shocked and a little bereft – as if it wasn’t quite finished. I started writing my review shortly after finishing the book and had to walk away and sleep on it. I woke up the next day and popped out of bed thinking “That’s exactly what should have happened”.  I still could have used an epilogue though but I skimmed through the book again, and on second reading, there are definite clues that I missed the first time. I, like Julia was so involved in the story and what I wanted to see that I missed what was right there all along.

So overall, I think it was a great read. It was fast paced and thoroughly engrossing. I imagine the perfect setting for picking up a Susanna Kearsley novel for the first time is a gloomy, rainy day, snuggled under a blanket but that’s just whimsy, there is never a bad time to pick up a Susanna Kearsley novel. I can’t wait to pick up the next. 

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