Tag: Author: Susanna Kearsley

Review: Bellewether

Posted 16 September, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.

It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies of Britain and France into the conflict. The times are complicated, as are the loyalties of many New York merchants who have secretly been trading with the French for years, defying Britain’s colonial laws in a game growing ever more treacherous.

When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes on their parole of honour, it upends the lives of the Wilde family—deeply involved in the treasonous trade and already divided by war.

Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her fracturing family following her mother’s death, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. And Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran has little desire to be there. But by the war’s end they’ll both learn love, honour, and duty can form tangled bonds that are not broken easily.

Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and re-told through the years until the present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island to be the new curator of the Wilde House Museum.

Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she starts to delve into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not have been telling the whole story…or the whole truth.

Alas, here we are, the last of the Susanna Kearsley novels sitting on my TBR queue. It’s funny, I seem to always read her books around the summertime but they seem perfect for the season. So here we are 🙂

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Review: A Desperate Fortune

Posted 7 August, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

A Desperate Fortune
By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread-its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise. When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take…to find the road that will lead her safely home.

Oh man, I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for ages. I guess I put off reading this book because it was focusing on the Jacobites, which I guess I studied to deat at uni so I wasn’t so inclined to read it lol. But it is a Susanna Kearsley book and she writes wonderfully so slowly but surely I finally got around to reading it.

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Review: Every Secret Thing

Posted 22 September, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Every Secret Thing
By: Susanna Kearsley (writing as Emma Cole)
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

‘No one lives for ever. But the truth survives us all.’

Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had approached her wanting to tell her about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder. The crime was old, he’d told her, but still deserving of justice.

Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother’s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man’s footsteps. Finding out the truth is not so simple, however, as only a few people are still alive who know the story…and Kate soon realises that her questions are putting their lives in danger. Stalked by an unknown and sinister enemy, she must use her tough journalistic instinct to find the answers from the past – before she has to say goodbye to her future.

Whenever I count how many novels left by Susanna Kearsley that I still have to read, I often forget this title. To be fair, this was written under a different name and it was one of her earliest books. I finally picked it up some time ago, determined to finish her backlist of books before her next novel drops 😉

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Review: The Splendour Falls

Posted 6 May, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

The Splendour Falls
By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

An Ancient Castle, a Tragic Love, and a Web of Secrets Begins to Unravel…

Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary own of Chinon, and promptly disappears well, that’s Harry for you.

As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a “treasure of great price.” And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

This and her latest novel, A Desperate Fortune, were the only two left by Susanna Kearsley that I had not yet read. I picked this book up sometime in late November and early December, telling myself that I’d hold off on reading it as there won’t be a new novel by her until 2017. Well, lo and behold I couldn’t help myself and ended up reading it towards the end of 2015 anyhow (a good way to cap off the year, I suppose, given that I read most of her books that year).

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So You Want to Read… (Susanna Kearsley)

Posted 16 March, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 2 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

For this month’s So You Want to Read… I’m going to be featuring books by Susanna Kearsley. I honestly never thought I’d be putting together a list like this by her if only because I never thought I’d get around to reading her backlist! However I finally got around to reading a good number of her books sitting on my TBR pile–including a re-read!–in the past year so I thought things were looking pretty good to put together a list like this 😉

If you’re a big fan of authors like Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, and Diana Gabaldon, you’ll like Susanna Kearsley’s books that blend of mysteries from the past, fantastic locations, lots of history, great cast of characters, a good romance to boot, and a bit of time slip depending on the book. My personal experience has been that it took a few of her books for me to get into her novels, if only because I hadn’t read many books featuring time slip before. But I’ve read enough now to say that I really like her books and do keep a lookout for the other books I either haven’t read or are upcoming 😉 So without further ado, here’s the titles by her that I’d recommend if you’re thinking of checking out her works:

  • The Winter Sea (review) — Definitely one of those books that left me sitting and thinking “Why didn’t I read this book sooner?!” lol. Sometimes books featuring a dual storyline–one set in the past and one set in the present–can feel a little uneven, usually with one storyline being far more interesting than the other, but with this book I thought the balance was perfect. All of the characters were all fantastic (I loved all of the interactions), the love stories were wonderful, and it really felt like you were at Slains overlooking the sea. I cannot recommend this book enough as a starting point for her works. And of course after reading this book you have to read the follow-up, The Firebird (review) 🙂
  • Season of Storms (review) — I mentioned this in my review but I could not put this book down once I started reading it. It’s a bit different from her other books in that there isn’t a paranormal element involved really (no time slips or characters with some latent psychic ability to connect to the past with), but the dual storylines were nonetheless interesting and do intersect over the course of the narration. I loved the theatrical elements involved, the mystery behind Celia Sands, the characters in the present day storyline…It felt like it was more about the characters here than anything else. Oh, and it’s set in Italy, what’s not to love? 😀
  • Mariana (review) — This was my first Susanna Kearsley novel, and it honestly left me a little baffled the first time, in part because of the time slip element and partly because I felt the reveal at the end came totally out of the blue and…dare I say ruined my experience of the book as a whole (because I was so baffled)? However, after reading a number of her books since and going back to it more recently, I’ve come to appreciate why that ending came about and just really appreciated the overall story a lot more. It does have great characters, great character interaction, and doesn’t plod a bit when it comes to the seventeenth century storyline so yeah, it gets a mention on this list now. But I’d recommend reading the first two before this book (unless time slips are your thing or you’re curious to know more of what exactly it is I’m talking about, lol).
  • The Rose Garden (review) — I initially was just going to list three books but I decided to add this book for readers who enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s books.The time slip here is a lot different compared to Mariana or The Winter Sea in that the main character, Eva, actually can slip back to the past. Not my favourite of Kearsley’s novels but it was still interesting and there were some characters that I really liked.

I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Susanna Kearsley’s books for the first time! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite by her? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂