Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

3.5 Star

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she's at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason. As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past - until she realizes Mariana's life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

Lydia - 3.5 Star

Mariana is an entertaining, easy read and the centuries old love explored requires some suspension of belief, but those those who enjoy paranormal novels as well as those with romantic notions will appreciate this unique novel.

Paranormal stories don't usually make my favourite list. The Time Traveler's Wife didn't really do it for me, but Sophie Kinsella's Twenties Girl did - so it's hard to say what exactly will appeal and although I didn't fall in love with Mariana, I never at any time wanted to throw the novel across the room in a fit of disbelief nor did I walk away having felt I'd wasted my time. Susanna Kearsley makes this novel seem believable and the romantic in me appreciated the centuries old love portrayed.

I found the exploration of reincarnation interesting especially in the context of religion. Julia's brother is a vicar and when she confides in him about her episodes, he indulges her and does some research and I found his findings fascinating coming from organized religion. Also absorbing was the idea that someone could actually know when they were reincarnated as opposed to just being reincarnated and getting on with it, which, to be honest, I had never given much thought. But to be given a second chance, to find those with whom you are meant to finish business with, regardless of what it is, was utterly fascinating to me.

I love novels that take place in tiny towns and villages in England. They always make me want to pick up and move to one, take a step into the local pub and make friends for life.  I loved all the supporting characters, especially Vivienne who was larger than life as were most of the characters in this novel.

Not a fan of long drawn out descriptions, Mariana has just the right amount of detail according to my taste and is interconnected to the story instead of just being there for descriptive purposes. This novel also held enough intrigue to keep my interest and even though I thought I had it figured out, I was never entirely sure whether I was right which I loved. 

Unfortunately though, I didn't find Mariana quite as absorbing as I had hoped it would be despite the many intriguing aspects I found to this story. I drifted along with Julia and Mariana as they transitioned back and forth in time and although the historical story is tragic and moving, I never felt as much emotion as I had hoped I would - and I have old romantic bones in my body. All in all though, I enjoyed this read and would definitely pick up more from Kearsley.

Thank you to Sourcebooks for our review copy!

Connect with Susanna Kearsley here:

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