Mariana - An Unusual Historical Romance
Mariana is an intriguing story of reincarnation and love across centuries. Julia Beckett is an illustrator of children's books who moves into a charming old house with questionable pipes in the village of Exbury, forty-five minutes outside of London. She first spots the house when she is five years old as her family drives past while on vacation and again in her early twenties. She is drawn a third time to this remarkable old farmhouse and buys it when she finds out it's for sale. She quickly gets acquainted with the villagers, including the unofficial local historian and owner of the Red Lion pub, a taciturn Scottish farmer and a handsome lord of the adjacent manor.
Everything seems idyllic until Julia begins to have unusual experiences in which she becomes a young seventeenth century woman. Now, I am a scientist through and through. I majored in biochemistry in college, did scientific research, and I practice medicine. But the storytelling skill of the author was such that I willfully suspended disbelief and thoroughly enjoyed the book. This is not a short book. It is about 380 pages, but I devoured it in three days.
The author Susanna Kearsley is a New York Times bestselling Canadian novelist of historical fiction and mystery. She writes beautifully. Descriptions are vivid without being over the top. They make you want to move to Exbury, go for a drink at the pub and chat with Vivien the owner and her regulars. The characters are colorful, interesting and real.
The transitions between past and present are seamless. This is a different take on time travel. it's not the usual story of a heroine out of her element in a time and place that is not her own. Nor is it a sappy love sorry, although I have a weakness for those. It is a perfect blend of a modern and at the same time historical romance. There's adventure, sickness, betrayal, even death. But fear not, a romance novel must have a happy ending and this one is no exception. But I was not at all expecting the twist at the end. It was so much better. It was simple, sweet and right. It made me go back to the beginning to re-read the book to pick up any hints I had missed the first time around.
I have read several of Kearsley's more recent books and they don't disappoint. I love it when I discover an author like this because my next several reads are set. I will devour every book the author has written and I'm on my way to doing that with Susanna Kearsley. I especially enjoyed The Rose Garden and A Desperate Fortune.
Mariana was published in 2012 by Sourcebook Landmarks and is available on Amazon. Get a copy today and leave a comment to let me know what you thought of it.