Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: Mariana by Susanna Kearsley


Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
2009 Allison & Busby Limited (originally published 1994 by Corgi Books)
ISBN:978-0-7490-0706-5
Softcover Edition
395 pages
Genre: Fiction/Romance

4/5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew at once that it was her house. Now, twenty-five years late, by some strange chance, she has just become the new owner of the sixteenth-century Wilshire farmshouse. But Julia soon begins to suspect that more than coincidence has brought her there. As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself abruptly transported back in time. Stepping into seventeenth-century England, Julia becomes Mariana, a beautiful young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love for Richard de Mornay, handsome forbear of the present squire of Crofton Hall. Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past, falling ever deeper in love with Richard...until one day she realizes Mariana's life threatens to eclipse her own - and that she must find a way to lay the past to rest, or risk losing a chance for love in her own time.

My Thoughts
Time-travelling books with a spice of romance and treachery are books that I truly enjoy. There are some books that tend to grab you right from the beginning and don't let you go until the very end, and this was one of those books for me. I found the storyline truly engaging, the characters were quirky and interesting, and the hint of scandal and treachery was fascinating.

All of the elements were present in this novel. You had the sixteenth century house, the hint of a ghost or two, missing relatives and documents from an old family, hints of treachery from the past, elements of reincarnation, and lost souls trying to find each other over the years. If you throw in an evil relative or two, hints of treachery, and unhappy young lovers, you have everything you need to set you up for a good old soppy love story/suspense/mystery/ghost story with a time travelling element thrown in.

What I really liked about the book is how seamlessly the time-travel element was sewn into the novel. It seemed to flow from past to present with an ease that made the storyline very easy to follow and didn't disrupt it at all. The author was very good at making us see how Mariana's life was slowly taking over Julia's present life and how easily we can lose ourselves in the temptation to live in the past. It took a lot of courage for Julia to resolve Mariana's fate and get on with her present-day life as she actually lived Mariana's life as Mariana and go to know and love the people who were alive in Mariana's time period.

Another thing I liked about this novel was the twist at the end. While some of the events were bittersweet in Mariana's time, I was really happy at the way things turned out in the end. It was a little sappy, but then I can be somewhat sappy myself at times so this really satisfied me. I wanted things to end satisfactorily this time and they did.

Verdict
If you're in the mood for an engaging story that spans centuries, with some interesting characters and plot twists, a light romance, than you will truly enjoy this book.

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