A haunting, paranormal romance from a Romantic Times Readers Choice and RITA Award-winning author, a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author
When Julia Beckett moves into the beautiful old farmhouse, she soon discovers she's not alone there.
"Tread lightly, she is near."
She encounters haunting remnants of a beautiful young woman who lived and loved there centuries ago. She finds herself transported into 17th-century England, and into the world of Mariana.
Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past... until she realizes Mariana's life is eclipsing her own. She must lay the past to rest or risk losing the chance for happiness in her own time.
A modern gothic historical fiction with elements of time travel, reincarnation, and romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley.
Fans of Diana Gabaldon, Mary Stewart, Kate Morton, and Daphne Du Maurier will want to join Julia and Mariana on their journeys to love, past and present.
Other great books by Susanna Kearsley:
The Winter Sea Winner of an RT Reviewers Choice Award, RITA finalist, finalist for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award
The Firebird RITA Winner, Paranormal Romance
The Rose Garden Winner of an RT Reviewers Choice Award, RITA finalist
Mariana was the winner of the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, and Suzanna has had books selected for the Mystery Guild, was a finalist for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and won a National Readers' Choice Award and a RITA.
What readers are saying about Mariana:
"This is one of those books that can be read and reread and not lose its magic."
"a beautifully woven and ENCHANTING story."
"Her bending of time and place to weave them into unique plots is fascinating"
"Well written, thought provoking and genuine."
"I haven't found a book that has touched me so since reading Katherine and Green Darkness by Anya Seton. Mariana is UTTERLY CAPTIVATING!"
"reminded me of one of the fine gothics, Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels or of Hitchcock in a non-murderous mood."
"my go-to for light Gothic dual-time historical fiction / romance."
"all the PERFECT delicious components to a great read."
What reviewers are saying about Mariana:
"Mariana is, quite simply, AMAZING." - The Thoughts of a Girl
"a novel full of mystery, intrigue, and timeless romance." A Navel Affair
"Romantic, passionate, and bittersweet, this intelligent, tension-laden story will sweep you away." - Historical Novels Review
What everyone is saying about Susanna Kearsley:
"Kearsley blends history, romance and a bit of the supernatural into a glittering, BEWITCHING tale."-Kirkus
"A MAGICAL, not to be missed read." -RT Book Reviews Top Pick, 4 ½stars
"A CREATIVE TOUR DE FORCE. Sometimes an author catches lightning in a bottle, and Susanna Kearsley has done just that." - New York Journal of Books
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Susanna Kearsley's writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader's Digest, and optioned for film. She lives in Canada near the shores of Lake Ontario.
Read an Excerpt
I first saw the house in the summer of my fifth birthday.
It was all the fault of a poet, and the fact that our weekend visit with a favorite elderly aunt in Exeter had put my father in a vaguely poetic mood. Faced with an unexpected fork in the road on our drive home to Oxford, he deliberately chose the left turning instead of the right. "The road less traveled by," he told us, in a benign and dreamy voice. And as the poet had promised, it did indeed make all the difference.
To begin with, we became lost. So hopelessly lost, in fact, that my mother had to put away the map. The clouds that rolled in to cover the sun seemed only an extension of my father's darkening mood, all poetry forgotten as he hunched grimly over the steering wheel. By lunchtime it was raining, quite heavily, and my mother had given sweets to my brother Tommy and me in a vain attempt to keep us from further irritating Daddy, whose notable temper was nearing the breaking point.
The sweets were peppermint, striped pink and white like large marbles, and so effective at hindering speech that we had to take them out of our mouths altogether in order to talk to each other. By the time we reached the first cluster of village shops and houses, my face and hands were sticky with sugar, and the front of my new ruffled frock was a stained and wrinkled ruin.
I've never been entirely certain what it was that made my father stop the car where he did. I seem to remember a cat darting across the road in front of us, but that may simply have been the invention of an imaginative and overtired child. Whatever the reason, the car stopped, the engine stalled, and in the ensuing commotion I got my first watery glimpse of the house.
It was a rather ordinary old farmhouse, large and square and solid, set back some distance from the road with a few unkempt trees dotted around for privacy. Its darkly glistening slate roof sloped down at an alarming angle to meet the weathered gray stone walls, the drab monotony of color broken by twin redbrick chimneys and an abundance of large multipaned windows, their frames painted freshly white.
I was pressing my nose against the cold glass of the car window, straining to get a better look, when after a few particularly virulent oaths my father managed to coax the engine back to life. My mother, obviously relieved, turned round to check up on us.
"Julia, don't," she pleaded. "You'll leave smears on the windows."
"That's my house," I said, by way of explanation.
My brother Tommy pointed to a much larger and more stately home that was just coming into view. "Well, that's my house," he countered, triumphant. To the delight of my parents, we continued the game all the way home to Oxford, and the lonely gray house was forgotten.
I was not to see it again for seventeen years.
That summer, the summer that I turned twenty-two, is strong in my memory. I had just graduated from art school, and had landed what seemed like the perfect job with a small advertising firm in London. My brother Tom, three years older than myself, had recently come down from Oxford with a distinguished academic record, and promptly shocked the family by announcing his plans to enter the Anglican ministry. Ours was not a particularly religious family, but Tom jokingly maintained that, given his name, he had little choice in the matter. "Thomas Beckett! I ask you," he had teased my mother. "What else could you expect?"
To celebrate what we perceived to be our coming of age, Tom and I decided to take a short holiday on the south Devon coast, where we could temporarily forget about parents and responsibilities and take advantage of the uncommonly hot and sunny weather with which southern England was being blessed. We were not disappointed. We spent a blissful week lounging about on the beach at Torquay, and emerged relaxed, rejuvenated, and sunburnt.
Tom, caught up on a rising swell of optimism, appointed me navigator for the trip back. He should have known better. While I'm not exactly bad with maps, I am rather easily distracted by the scenery. Inevitably, we found ourselves off the main road, toiling through what seemed like an endless procession of tiny, identical villages linked by a narrow road so overhung by trees it had the appearance of a tunnel.
After the seventh village, Tom shot me an accusing sideways look. We had both inherited our mother's Cornish coloring and finely cut features, but while on me the combination of dark hair and eyes was more impish than exotic, on Tom it could look positively menacing when he chose.
"Where do you suppose we are?" he asked, with dangerous politeness.
I dutifully consulted the map. "Wiltshire, I expect," I told him brightly. "Somewhere in the middle."
"Well, that's certainly specific."
"Look," I suggested, as we approached village number eight, "why don't you stop being so pigheaded and ask directions at the next pub? Honestly, Tom, you're as bad as Dad-" The word ended in a sudden squeal.
This time, I didn't imagine it. A large ginger cat dashed right across the road, directly in front of our car. The brakes shrieked a protest as Tom put his foot to the floor, and then, right on cue, the engine died.
"Damn and blast!"
"Curates can't use language like that," I reminded my brother, and he grinned involuntarily.
"I'm getting it out of my system," was his excuse.
Laughing, I looked out the window and froze.
"I don't believe it."
"I know," my brother agreed. "Rotten luck."
I shook my head. "No, Tom, look-it's my house."
"My gray house," I told him. "Don't you remember, that day the cat ran onto the road and Daddy stalled the car?"
"On the way back from Auntie Helen's," I elaborated. "Just after my fifth birthday. It was raining and Daddy took the wrong turning and a cat ran onto the road and he had to stop the car."
My brother looked at me in the same way a scientist must look at a curious new specimen, and shook his head.
"No, I don't remember that."
"Well, it happened," I said stubbornly, "and the car stalled just here, and I saw that house."
"If you say so."
The car was running again now, and Tom maneuvered it over to the side of the road so I could have a clearer view.
"What do you think it means?" I asked.
"I think it means our family has bloody bad luck with cats in Wiltshire," Tom said. I chose to ignore him.
"I wonder how old it is."
Tom leaned closer. "Elizabethan, I should think. Possibly Jacobean. No later."
I'd forgotten that Tom had been keen on architecture at school. Besides, Tom always knew everything.
"I'd love to get a closer look." My voice was hopeful, but Tom merely sent me an indulgent glance before turning back onto the road that led into the village.
"I am not," he said, "going to peer into anyone's windows to satisfy your curiosity. Anyway, the drive is clearly marked ‘Private.'"
A short distance down the road we pulled into the car park of the Red Lion, a respectable half-timbered pub with an ancient thatched roof and tables arranged on a makeshift terrace to accommodate the noontime crowd. I stayed in the car, preparing to take my shift as driver, while Tom went into the pub to down a quick pint and get directions back to the main road.
I was so busy pondering how great the odds must be against being lost twice in the same spot, that I completely forgot to ask my brother to find out the name of the village we were in.
It would be another eight years before I found myself once again in Exbury, Wiltshire.
This time, the final time, it was early April, two months shy of my thirtieth birthday, and-for once-I was not lost. I still lived in London, in a tiny rented flat in Bloomsbury that I had become rooted to, in spite of an unexpectedly generous legacy left to me by my father's aunt Helen, that same aunt we'd been visiting in Exeter all those years earlier. She'd only seen me twice, had Auntie Helen, so why she had chosen to leave me such an obscene amount of money remained a mystery. Perhaps it was because I was the only girl in a family known for its male progeny. Auntie Helen, according to my father, had been possessed of staunchly feminist views. "A room of your own," Tom had told me, in a decided tone. "That's what she's left you. Haven't you read Virginia Woolf?"
It was rather more than the price of a room, actually, but I hadn't the slightest idea what to do with it. Tom had stoutly refused my offer to share the inheritance, and my parents maintained they had no need of it, being comfortably well-off themselves since my father's retirement from surgical practice. So that was that.
I had quite enough to occupy my time, as it was, having shifted careers from graphic design to illustration, a field I found both more interesting and more lucrative. By some stroke of luck I had been teamed early on with a wonderfully talented author, and our collaboration on a series of fantasy tales for children had earned me a respectable name for myself in the business, not to mention a steady living. I had just that week been commissioned to illustrate a sizable new collection of legends and fairy tales from around the world, a project that excited me greatly and promised to keep me busily employed for the better part of a year. I was on top of the world.
Ordinarily, I'd have celebrated my good fortune with my family, but since my parents were halfway round the world on holiday and Tom was occupied with Easter services, I had settled for the next best thing and spent the weekend with friends in Bath. On the Monday morning, finding the traffic on the main road too busy for my taste, I detoured to the north and followed the gentle sweep of the Kennet River towards London.
It was a cool but perfect spring day, and the trees that lined the road were bursting into leaf with an almost tropical fervor. In honor of the season, I drove with the windows down, and the air smelled sweetly of rain and soil and growing things.
My arthritic but trustworthy Peugeot crested a small hill with a protesting wheeze. Gathering speed, I negotiated a broad curve where the road dipped down into a shallow valley before crossing over the Kennet via a narrow stone bridge. As I bumped across the bridge, I felt a faint tingling sensation sweep across the back of my neck, and my fingers tightened on the wheel in anticipation.
The most surprising thing was that I wasn't at all surprised, this time, to see the house. Somehow, I almost expected it to be there.
I slowed the car to a crawl, then pulled off the road and stopped altogether, just opposite the long gravel drive. A large ginger cat stalked haughtily across the road without so much as glancing at me, and disappeared into the waving grass. Three times in one lifetime, I told myself, even without the cat, was definitely beyond the bounds of ordinary coincidence.
Surely, I reasoned, whoever owned the house wouldn't mind terribly if I just took a casual peek around...? As I hesitated, biting my lip, a flock of starlings rose in a beating cloud from the field beside me, gathered and wheeled once above the gray stone house, and then was gone.
For me, that was the deciding factor. Along with my mother's looks, I had also inherited the superstitious nature of her Cornish ancestors, and the starlings were a good-luck omen of my own invention. From my earliest childhood, whenever I had seen a flock of them it meant that something wonderful was about to happen. My brother Tom repeatedly tried to point out the flaw in this belief, by reminding me that starlings in the English countryside were not exactly uncommon, and that their link to my happiness could only be random at best. I remained unconvinced. I only knew that the starlings had never steered me wrong, and watching them turn now and rise above the house, I suddenly made a decision.
I grabbed my shapeless green anorak from the seat beside me and stepped out of the car, nearly tumbling into the ditch in my eagerness. I wasn't exactly dressed to go visiting, I admitted, tugging the anorak on over my jeans and rough sweater-but that couldn't be helped. I ran a hand through my hair in a hopeless attempt to smooth the short, unruly curls, but the damply blowing wind spoiled my efforts.
Now, I thought, what excuse to use? Directions? A glass of water? Trouble with the car? I glanced back at the dented and battered Peugeot and nodded. Car trouble, I decided. Anyone would believe that. Mentally rehearsing my lines, I crossed the road and started up the gravel drive. A cracked and weathered signboard bearing the words "Strictly Private" in faded red paint hung dejectedly from a nail in a nearby tree. Undaunted, I soldiered on, hoping that my footsteps didn't sound as crunchingly loud to the people inside as they did to my own ears.
The house looked exactly as I remembered it-the same red chimneys with their clay chimney pots; the same symmetrically positioned white windows, four panes over four; the same rough-hewn gray stone walls under the steep slate roof. The only thing different was the door. I had always imagined it to be brown, but now I saw that it was clearly dark green, standing out in sharp contrast to the massive stone portal that surrounded it.
My knocking echoed heavily with a dull and hollow sound. Three times I bruised my knuckles against the heavy wood, before finally conceding that no one was coming to answer the door.
Which meant there was nobody home. And, I told myself happily, since there was nobody home, it followed that no one would be disturbed if I went round to the back of the house and looked in a few windows. Having thus rationalized my trespassing, I retraced my steps to the drive and followed it round the north side of the house.
Here the drive ended abruptly at a squat, low-slung stone building with a weedy thatched roof. Presumably this had once been the stables, but the bumper of a car protruding from one of the open stalls left no doubt as to its present use.
The view from where I stood, looking across the level farmlands and gently undulating downs, broken here and there by clusters of dark-green trees and wild shrubs, was truly beautiful. There was no yard as such, although a tumbled heap of stone a hundred feet or so behind the house looked as if it might once have been part of a boundary wall. And though I had counted three oaks, a fruit tree, and several shrubs at the front, the only bit of vegetation growing close against the back wall of the house was a solitary poplar with gnarled bark, its silvery-green branches trembling in the breeze.
There was another dark-green door here, with an old-fashioned latch, and another double row of white-painted windows. Beneath what I assumed must be the kitchen window, someone had piled a precarious stack of ancient flowerpots, their sides encrusted with thick black moss from lack of use. I stretched on tiptoe and leaned closer, cupping one hand against the glass to shield my eyes against the reflected glare of the sun. It was a window to the kitchen, or perhaps the pantry. I could just make out a shelf of tinned goods and an old porcelain sink. I was angling my head for a better look when a man's voice spoke suddenly out of the air behind me.
"He's not there."
It was a friendly voice, with a faintly un-English burr to it, and had come from some distance away. But I didn't register any of that immediately. I spun round, startled, and sent the pile of flowerpots crashing to the ground.
At first I could see no one, but as I stood there staring, the figure of a man detached itself from the tumbled stone wall and came across the grass towards me. He was a young man, perhaps five years my senior, dressed in rough working clothes and wearing leather gauntlets that looked oddly medieval and out of place.
"I didn't mean to frighten you," he apologized. "I just thought, if you're looking for Eddie, he's not there."
He was quite close now, close enough for me to clearly see the combination of auburn hair and flint-gray eyes that is, somehow, so distinctively Scottish. He smiled, a friendly smile that matched the voice.
"Are you a friend of Eddie's?" he asked.
I shook my head.
"A relative, then."
"No." To my credit, I blushed a little. I had a hunch my tale of phony car trouble would not make it past those shrewd gray eyes. "No, I don't know the owner. Will he be back soon, do you know?"
The man tilted his head to one side and gave me a long, measuring look that rather reminded me of my brother.
"I hope not," he said evenly. "We buried him last month."
"Oh, I'm sorry." I blushed deeper. "I really am sorry."
"No harm done." He shrugged. "You're just having a poke about, then?"
My face, by this time, was crimson, and I had a feeling that he was enjoying my obvious discomfort. It took a moment, but the full importance of what he'd just told me finally sank in, and I abruptly forgot my embarrassment.
I lifted my eyes quickly. "Is the house for sale, then?"
"Aye. Did you want to have a look at it?"
"I want to buy it. I've waited twenty-five years for this house."
The man raised a russet eyebrow, and for some absurd reason I found myself babbling out the whole story of "The House and I," to which he listened with admirable patience. I can't imagine he found it very interesting. When I'd finished my childish narrative, his level gaze met mine for a second time, and the resemblance to my brother was even more pronounced.
"Well, then," he said solemnly, "you'd best see Mr. Ridley in the High Street. I've not got my own keys with me, or I'd show you round myself." He stripped off one gauntlet and extended a hand in greeting. "I'm Iain Sumner, by the way."
"Julia Beckett." I must have altered my expression at the sight of his hand, because he smiled again, looking down at the tiny lacerations marring his skin.
"Brambles," he explained. "They'd choke out my garden if I didn't thin them back. It's not painful," he assured me, pulling the glove back on. "I'd best be getting back to my work. Good luck with the house."
"Thank you," I said, but he was already out of earshot.
Five minutes later I was sitting in the offices of Ridley and Stewart, Estate Agents. I confess I don't remember much about that afternoon. I do recall a confusing blur of conversation, with Mr. Ridley rambling on about legal matters, conveyances and searches and the like, but I wasn't really listening.
"You're quite certain," Mr. Ridley had asked me, "that you don't want to view the property first?"
"I've seen it," I'd assured him. To be honest, there seemed no need for such formalities. It was, after all, my house. My house. I was still hugging the knowledge tightly, as a child hugs a present, when I knocked on the door of the rectory of St. Stephen's, Elderwel, Hampshire, that evening.
"Congratulate me, Vicar." I beamed up at my brother's startled face. "We're practically neighbors. I just bought a house in Wiltshire."
What People are Saying About This
"You must put Mariana on your TBR list" - Books, Belles, and Beaux
"Susanna Kearsley is being hailed as a modern day Daphne du Maurier and her time travel romance Mariana certainly attests to the compliment." - Romance Fiction Suite 101
"Susanna Kearsley's writing reminds me of two other authors whose novels I love Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. " - She Reads Novels
"Recommend? Absolutely..YES times one hundred gazillion! Okay...I'm a bit crazy, but how else can I convey how wonderful this book is to my fellow book lovers? Kearsley is easily a favorite author of mine and she just can't write fast enough for me. Each book she has written has been outstanding and she amazes me again and again with her imagination and uncanny ability to ink characters and places that I instantly fall in love with! Treat yourself to this book...you will not be disappointed!" - Life in the Thumb
"Mariana ended up being a compelling read because the flashbacks were so captivating, and both stories were compelling with the different set of characters." - The Book Pushers
"The perfect book to read if you're looking for a little escapism, which also has one or two surprises in store for the reader. Fans of Barbara Erskine certainly won't be disappointed with this one." - Spriteby's Bokhylle
"Kearsley's gothic style and rich storytelling make Mariana an utterly satisfying read." - Book Bitch
"I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to more from the author." - Cat's Thoughts
"The end section of the book, which totally surprised me, moved me and had my heart pounding has it all making sense. And I was glad." - Kaetrin's Musings
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read The Winter Sea first (now rereleased as Sophia's Secret). Loved it so much I purchased Mariana simply because the author stated in her dedication that she hoped her father loved The Winter Sea as much as Mariana. Beautifully written, well-researched historical fiction/time travel romance. Kearnsley's character development and attention to detail fully immerse the reader in her story. She has a way of describing a first touch, a first kiss that can bring you right back in time yourself, goosebumps and all. That being said, without spoiling the suspense, Mariana is partially a story about the supernatural, and her time travelling was a little harder for me to accept than it was in The Winter Sea. But I stayed up late into the night to finish it, and it was well worth my time and my money spent. Now a fan, I am purchasing The Rose Garden next.
this book is fantastic, I've read it once and now I'm reading it again. Somehow it seems to be even better this time. brilliant
This is a wonderful no bodice ripping romance novel, with a supernatural twist. The story begins when the main character, Julia, is a child. Her family is driving on a family vacation when their car breaks down randomly. When Julia looks over, she notices they are in front of this gorgeous house, she instantly falls in love with it. A number of years later, she comes upon the house again when her car breaks down, then when she is an adult, she is driving and she stops to avoid an animal and her car won’t start, she looks over and there is the house, her house. She goes over to investigate the house and finds out that it is for sale. She buys it and there begins her journey of discovery and romance. Julia begins to have flashbacks where she actually goes back in time. She learns about who she was in a past life and this leads her back to her true love, reborn again in this lifetime. I do not want to give away the story at all. It was super good and a quick read. This book does not have any descriptive sex scenes, just one flashback where she is in bed with her lover after they have had sex. I would highly recommend this book to romance lovers and paranormal romance lovers alike. It was a great lighthearted book that kept me on the edge of my seat; I didn’t want to put it down. Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
I've ready all of Ms. Kearlsey's books and loved them all. If reincanation and past lives appeals to you, Susanna Kearlsey is your girl. Her novels are historically interesting and, when reading her books, the reader is transported to another time and another life. You can smell the fragrances and feel the ambiance. I look forward to her next book.
I found Susanna Kearsley's The Winter Sea at B&N Nookbooks under $5. I loved it and have been eagerly awaiting more of her books to come to Nook. This is the third one, so others must feel the same. Mariana was wonderful - it is my favorite so far. After the end, I had to go back and re-read parts of it, for me it was that good. I like the time-slip historical romance genre and Susanna Kearsley is my favorite author.
The end was beautiful, unpredictable, and haunting. It was better than i hoped for, and what i hoped would happen. I desperately want a book written from the point of view of julia's soulmate.
Although, each time I finish one of her books I say that, but in all honesty, this one is my favorite so far. I loved the love story of Mariana and Richard and routed for Julia to find it herself the whole way through. I felt for the characters in this book and was very sad to see it all end.
I was hooked within the first chapter and enjoyed it even when I was positive I knew where it all was headed....and then had a greater surprise ending. Can't wait to read more of her works.
Bought the book awhile ago and only finally got around to reading it - and I couldn't put it down! Very well written, interesting romance with twists and turns and intelligent characters. There are a few points where you have to suspend disbelief, but not enough to make you stop enjoying the book. Well worth the time.
This is the 3rd book I've read by Kearnsley, having read the Winter Sea and The Rose Garden. I think this was my favorite. Never really thought I'd like 'time travel' novels, but there's something so appealing to the romantic in me about love that crosses time. She has an easy writing style with great attention to details that enable you to feel you're there with her characters. I'll save this to read again; the best recommendation I can give a book.
I loved this book. Maybe it's because I felt a kinship with Julia and the sense she had of being pulled to a certain place and a certain life in the country - it's fascinating to me to think about why we might be drawn one way or another, and this book provides a theory that is just plain interesting to read. All of the characters were three-dimensional and lively. It was hard to leave them at the end, both those in the past and the present. The ending was delightful, and I immediately went back to certain parts of the story to see what clues I might have overlooked. A fantastic find. I have also read the author's other novels, "A Winter Sea" as well as " The Rose Garden." The love story here was the most believable to me of the three, as I related to Julia the most clearly of the three heroines. I am eagerly awaiting the author's next work.
I thought this was filled with great characters & ideology. I love her books...I'm sad to see this one end. I didn't expect the final scene, but maybe I should have. Can't wait to read it again!
I love Susanna Kearsley. This book is about the way lives become intertwined and the supernatural side of it that Kearsley does SO well. Once I finished the book, I went and read it again to appreciate nuances that I missed the first time around. The ending was a surprise and after re-reading it, I saw the clues I overlooked the first time. As is usually the case, Mariana is an immersive experience only Kearsley can create.
I bought this book based on my enjoyment of The Winter Sea. It is what I would call a historical romance novel. I would have preferred a bit more romance and the fantastical elements were a little implausible. (Don't get me wrong, those are usually my favorite bits but, in this story, you really have to drop your sense of disbelief and just go with the author.) It works out in the long run though and it is a lovely story. In fact, I bought 3 other books by Kearsley because I enjoy her writing so much. Of the ones I have read so far, this is probably my least favorite but that is just because I enjoy the continued story of Winter Sea better. (Winter Sea and Firebird are a continuation of one story. And I think, Stormy Horses - I haven't read that one yet - is a branch off of Firebird).
The story takes us back into past lives. As she writes in the book, ‘. . .believe in the eternal life of the human soul. . .where that soul goes after death only the dead can answer that.‘ The story tells the age old story of what could happen had we once lived in the past. Part ghost and part long lost love in the 1600s that tries to come to fruition in the future. Ms. Kearsley’s sense of history is precise and exciting. She has a way with words that envelopes you into the story and urges page turning and sleepless nights. The brother and sister family connection is so wonderfully portrayed throughout the story. The ending has a twist and turn that strikes the heart. Why didn’t I see that coming. . .now I have to reread the whole book again. . . with much pleasure.
I just loved this book. Mariana is an interesting, all consuming book, I just couldn't put down. And when I finished, I literally reread it just to be sure I got things right, and see what I missed I read the comparisons to author Diana Gabaldon and that's what got my attention, and convinced me to read while waiting for her next book. Yes they write from the same time period, and there is a current day story going on, and they are both wonderful story tellers with well written books!!!! There are many similarities. And I do wish for the story to keep going, to learn the 'whats next??' in these characters lives. But there lies the big difference. This is no Jamie & Claire want-to-be story. This is a unique and different kind of story! Told in it's own very clear voice. I especially loved the ending, I think the last 100 pages I was guessing at the wrap up and still had to recheck previous conversations to be sure what was said. Well worth the time to read, and can't wait to read another from this very talented writer. G
Loved this book! Very well written. Am going back to read it through again to catch everything I overlooked the first time.
If you love historical romance, this is a great way to get started. Susanna Kearsley is an amazing author. Her novels have romance, mystery and 'time travel.' If you love, 'Mariana', you will also LOVE 'Winter Sea', and 'Rose Garden,' not to mention others that I've not had the wonderful opportunity yet to read.
I can never put down Susanna's books once I start. Great story and surprising twist at the end!
I can't get enough of Susana Kearsely apparently. She hasn't disappointed me yet!
Julia, a children's illustrator, stumbles across an old farmhouse she knows instantly that it belongs to her. She impulsively purchases the house and immediately moves in. However, she begins to experience a different life, the life of Mariana, a woman from the 17th century. Although the experiences are frightening, she quickly becomes obsessed and does everything she can to continue experiencing these time slips.This book was very well written. It was an engaging story and the characters were fresh and unique. My only criticism is that the book ended abruptly with everything just falling into place. The author reminds me a bit of Barbara Erskine and I can't wait to read more from her.
The one thing I like about this author is that she is so consistent. One knows exactly what one is going to get when one reads her novels. Engaging characters, an old house somewhere in England, an entertaining time romp through history and a heart warming love story. In Mariana, the old house is in Exley, we go back to the time of Charles II and the devastating toll of the plague, the love story had me fooled into the very end. There is just something so comforting about her books.
I loved this book. Perhaps because I¿m a sucker for souls reunited, the paranormal (ghosts, in this case), and the history an old house can hold.It is beautifully written, the dialogue is well done, and the characters are likable, believable, and memorable. Contrary to some other readers, I loved the twist at the end. I don¿t want to say too much, other than that Ms. Kearsley¿s wrap-up was all that I had hoped for.I¿m eager to read The Rose Garden, as soon as it¿s available
First Line: I first saw the house in the summer of my fifth birthday.I've discovered over the years that some houses have the power of speech. When I first moved to Phoenix, I walked to work every morning and passed a slightly down-at-heels 1950s ranch house. Nothing about it would draw anyone's attention, but for some reason each time I walked by, I got gooseflesh-- and the feeling that the house was sad. A year later I happened to be watching the evening news and found out that police had shut down a house of prostitution specializing in S&M... in that same sad little ranch house.At the age of five Julia Beckett had a house speak to her, and twenty-five years later she finds the house once again. Flush with an inheritance from an aunt, Julia buys Greywethers, a sixteenth-century farmhouse in Wiltshire. She moves in and finds the villagers very friendly and helpful-- so much so that she finds it difficult to get to work illustrating a book of fairy tales. Bit by bit, Julia learns the rudimentary history of Greywethers and the young woman, Mariana, who lived there three hundred years ago. It seems that Mariana has been waiting for her.I've read two books recently that I would label romantic suspense. It's a genre that I seldom touch because the romance usually takes precedence over everything else in the story. That's definitely not the case here. Mariana is a fun read. Julia is an engaging character living in a fascinating house. Both time lines-- Julia's modern day time and Mariana's-- grabbed my attention equally. Normally one time line tends to be stronger than the other, but Kearsley avoids that completely, and the plot is not formulaic; it had more than one surprise for me.If you're in the mood for a fast, entertaining read that has a fascinating old house, a mystery that spans the centuries, and a light touch of romance, Mariana could be just the book for you.
Such a great buildup of plot and character only to be let down by a mediocre ending leaving the reader going....thats it?