A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

DesperateTitle: A Desperate Fortune
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Series: Standalone (although some character crossover with other novels)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published: April 7, 2015
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 out of 5) Continue reading

Review: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

Title: The Splendour Falls
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Rating: ★★★

I love how Kearsley can blend history with the present in such a way that it all flows perfectly from one story to another. The history is such an important piece of the present, setting up situations and characters that draw me right in. The Splendour Falls not only has that perfect mix of the times, but it has a murder mystery and a missing person case wrapped up in there as well.

Emily Braden is convinced by her cousin to join him in France. It will be a vacation for her while he gets some research done. When she reaches the hotel, her cousin is nowhere in sight and no one seems to know where he is. This is nothing new for Emily’s family, as her cousin has a habit of not being the most reliable, so she doesn’t worry too much. She starts getting to know the others staying in the hotel, all the while wondering about her cousin’s whereabouts and thinking about the history of the town she’s staying in. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the events of the past that still has an impact in the present day.

Just like in the other Kearsley novels I’ve read, the characters are unique and amazing. Even Garland, the woman who doesn’t think before she speaks, is a fascinating character to read. Each character has a personality that differs from every other character. It’s easy to see them existing in real life, not just in the pages of a novel. They’re real, with dimensions and flaws, and each one serves a greater purpose in the novel. I might love the way Kearsley weaves history into the present, but it’s her characters that make her books excellent.

The murder/mystery/missing person aspect of the novel was very well done. For once, I didn’t see the twist coming. I figured there’d be one, but my guesses were way off. There’s a lot of cover-up and things hiding beneath the surface. I spent half my time reading trying to figure things out. I do wish there had been a little bit more of the historical mystery written about. It’s there to drive the characters along, but it stays mostly in the background.

The romance of this book is in the background. It doesn’t play a major role, but it’s always there, hovering at the edges. I’m glad that it wasn’t a major focus. It allowed me to fall in love with every character and with the setting.

The Splendour Falls has everything that I enjoy about Kearsley’s novels. When I pick up one of her books, I trust that I’m going to love it. Even if the historical angle doesn’t appeal to you, the characters make this book worth reading.

If The Splendour Falls sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to NetGelley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Title: Shadowy Horses
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Rating: ★★★★★

I read The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley because it was a kindle daily deal. I read Shadowy Horses because I loved Kearsley’s writing. She seems like the kind of person I could sit down with over a cup of coffee and just talk about all the interesting facets of history. She brings the old in with the new and blends them so well, it’s hard to imagine the two worlds not overlapping.

In Shadowy Horses, Verity has been hired on as part of an archaeological dig for a vanished Roman army troop. The dig is occurring under strange circumstances. The financier and leader or the group is supposedly a little crazy, Verity dated on of the guys working on the dig and is attracted to the other, and the granddaughter of the leader is an apathetic 20 year old who holds a little resentment towards her grandfather. In addition to the digging group, there’s the family that lives in the caretakers cottage: the cook, the groundskeeper, the fisherman, and the young psychic boy. Everything the dig is looking for is based not in fact, but in feelings.

Not only does Kearsley weave together a fantastic story about the archaeological dig and the relationships that form and stretch during the dig, but she also brings the past in and effortlessly weaves it into the story. The ease with which I could see both the past and the present coming together is a testament to Kearsley’s writing abilities. Not everyone can pull off something like that without making it feel cheap, forced, or odd. I can’t imagine this story without the touch of the past and the story that accompanies it; it is what makes this story so brilliant.

I loved the people in this novel, Peter and Granny Nan best. They were such characters that they didn’t even feel like characters in a book. They felt like real people whose words were transcribed for the novel. Everyone, even the more deplorable characters are written so well, you can’t help but like how bad they are.

I don’t want to give too much away, because this is a book you need to let unfold slowly, but I will say that even though I saw the ending coming, I still let out an “awww” when I reached it.

After only reading two of Kearsley’s novels, I know she’s an author I’m going to watch and buy obsessively. She does with history what I wish I could do; bring it into the present and weave it in so masterfully, it’s hard to know where the past ends and the present begins. This is definitely a must read book and a must read author.

If Shadowy Horses sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Title: The Rose Garden
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Pages: 441 pages paperback, 428 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

Time travel is a tricky thing. A novel written around it can either be wonderful or completely fail. Thankfully, The Rose Garden falls into the wonderful category.

After losing her sister, Eva heads back to the home where they had spent summers growing up. It is where Eva remembers Katrina being happiest, where she wants to spread her ashes. While there, she is faced with the fact that the house will never be the one she remembers because it is missing her sister. She also learns she has the ability to jump through time.

She goes back to the home in 1715, when the owners were two brothers on the wrong side of the crown. They manage to stay just above the law, but there is always the risk of being caught and falling prey to the constable. The more time Eva spends with Daniel, the older brother, the more she starts to fall for him.

She continues to jump back and forth, helping Mark and Susan set up the home so it can continue to operate in the future, all the while realizing that she doesn’t belong at the house at that time anymore. The more she is in the present, the more her heart wants to go back.

Kearsley paints a beautiful picture with her words. I have never been to Cornwall, and yet I could picture everything clearly in my mind. I could smell the see and feel the ground beneath my feet.

I don’t really know what to say about Daniel and Eva’s romance because it was beyond words. It fell exactly how it should have been. They never knew how much time they would have together and so they made the most of it. Daniel did not expect Eva to conform to his society’s standards when it was just the two of them, and Eva gave Daniel a reason to be happy. It was like reading about two puzzle pieces finally fitting together.

The Rose Garden is a fantastic novel about love and what it means to be happy. It also reminds us that home is not always a place with four walls and a roof, it’s about the feeling you have once you find it.

If The Rose Garden sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble