As a five year-old, Julia Beckett sees a country house and declares it "her house". Several years later, Julia finds her way back to the house known as Greywethers. Soon, she is transported back in time for brief moments and finds she was Mariana in a past life. Mariana also lived at Greywethers and Julia is able to experience life as Mariana did.
The story is very intriguing and has kept me up late at night reading it the past two nights. I liked the characters and the fact that i didn't know exactly where the story was going.
I would recommend this book. There is romance in this book, but it isn't the type of book where the main story is the romance. I will definitely pick up more of Ms. Kearsley's books in the future.
Outlander meets Wuthering Heights in Mariana. With the requisite HEA ending, Mariana is a historical romance. There's sufficient bits of accurate 17th century history within for the purists amongst us. The story takes place, in part, during the Restoration period (following the English Civil War). Charles II is on the throne.
However, as a time-travel romance, equal parts take place in more current times - I'd say 10 to 20 years ago. It's an interesting twist on time-travel, though. I don't want to say more, but the plot (to me at least) was very original.
I highly recommend it for lovers of historical romance, especially those stories outside the typical formula. I also recommend it to historical fiction purists as long as they don't mind a romance sub-theme.
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.
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
I have read several of Ms. Kearsleys books and everyone raved about the Winter Sea and at the risk of being stoned to death, I didnt see what all the fuss was about. I just had to read Shadowy Horses, again I was underwhelmed. Now I was beginning to think I just didnt get Ms. Kearsley because she is a fine writer, her historical characters are well drawn, but I always found myself more interested in the contemporary characters, which is odd because I dont usually like contemporary fiction.
So when I picked up Mariana I was going to give this one more shot and I am glad I did I loved it. Artist Julia Beckett sees a house at 5 years old and announces to her family that is my house. Years later she sees it yet again, just as before the car in which she is riding in stalls out in the same place, in front of the house. The third time she see the house she is alone and goes to explore, only to find out that it is for sale and having come into some money she decides to leave London for the country. She feels immediately at home even when she has a few alarming flash backs which at first freak her out, and wondering about her sanity. But she shares these occurrences with her brother who is a Vicar; he brings up past lives and reincarnation. She also comes to realize she can to some extent control the flash backs. She also finds a guide of sorts in the house keeper at the nearby manor, I found both of Julia/Marianas lives interesting and it was a real page turner. 4 stars and a must read!
A wonderful book, masterfully constructed. I loved every minute of the book. The characters were smoothly written made you feel like having a cup of tea with an old friend. Great plot twist at the end. Similar style to her book the Winter Sea. Excellent read I highly recommend it.
Good book. Very interesting plot with lots of twists. Hated that the book had to end.
A smooth read with beautiful, graphic prose.
Susanna Kearsley is an author that I just recently discovered and enjoyed -- and Mariana is no exception. While this book is classified as romantic suspense, the emphasis is definitely on the suspense with a unique time-travel twist. Time-travel is not usually something that appeals to me, but this was more with a paranormal emphasis than science fiction and it felt totally right. The house, Greywethers, is as much of a character as any of the people in the book and it is obvious that the author really did her research on the period of the Restoration in England. This is a very engaging read that I found hard to put down.
I cannot get enough of Susanna Kearsley's books! I had to read the final chapter of Mariana three times. I didn't want it to end. I found myself thinking over the symbolism of the book days after I read it. Such a wonderful story!
I want to say so much about this book but I fear I will not be able to get the words to come the way Id like. I cant do this book justice in words, for this perfect story. There are so many good things I want to say and not one negative word would I, could I, speak about it.
There were many lessons in this story. Even in real life this story holds truths. My favorite line from the book, had me sitting and thinking, pondering its meaning. It spoke volumes to me and I think every person on earth could identify with it. In the book it says, "The past can teach us, nurture us, but it cannot sustain us. The essence of life is change, and we must move forward or the soul will wither and die..." Now isn't that true? It says so much to those of us who hold onto the past steadfast, never letting go of things that have hurt us, times when we felt wronged.
This book stretches between the modern day and three hundred years ago. Its the perfect ghost story. A romantic and yet tragic one. Taking place in a beautiful English town just loaded with fields, rivers, vibrant towns folk, centuries old homes and a ghost or two.
I loved every single character in this story. The author did an enormous and amazing job at having us visualize the scenery, the town, its people, its past. She knocked me off my feet. This book was everything I could ask for in a ghost story from England. I did not want to set this book down, I am guilty of snapping at a few people who disrupted my reverie. lol This book was addictive, once you started on this train, you didn't want to get off. I cant wait to read more from the author.
I beg of anyone to go get a copy of this one! Do yourself a favor, and take a breath of this fresh air!