Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

I keep reading rapt reviews of Kearsley’s novels that compare her to some of my favorite novelists including Diana Gabaldon, Daphne Du Maurier, and Mary Stewart.  I read and enjoyed Kearsley’s novel The Rose Garden.  Yet, I didn’t feel that it warranted comparison with Gabaldon, Du Maurier, and Stewart.  After reading Mariana, I can finally see where the praise is coming from; it was an excellent novel with a spectacular ending.

Julia Beckett sees a grey house as a child and instantly falls in love with it.  Years later, she passes by the same house that is now for sale.  Believing in destiny, Julia purchases the home.  Moving from London to the countryside takes some getting used to, but Julia is close to her vicar brother, Tom, and also meets some great new friends.  She also encounters a handsome neighbor or two.
Disturbingly, Julia also time slips into the past and experiences the life of Mariana Farr.   Mariana lived during the seventeenth century in the same home that Julia has just purchased.  She escaped from London during the plague after her mother’s death to live with her Uncle.  Life is trying for Mariana, but after meeting her handsome neighbor, Richard de Mornay, Mariana begins to experience love.

Will Mariana find true love?  Will Julia be able to live her life separate from Mariana and find what is truly meant for her?
I LOVED this book.  It was excellent and I couldn’t put it down.  The ending is superb.  I don’t want to ruin it for anyone so that is all I am going to say on that subject.  I also thought it did the best job of a “time slip” novel that I have read.  It had a great description and also an explanation that Julia is the reincarnated Mariana remembering her own past life.  One of my favorite quotes explaining the time slip is as follows:

“It is difficult to describe the sensation of sliding backwards in time, of exchanging one reality for another that is just as real, just as tangible, just as familiar.    I should not, perhaps, refer to it as ‘sliding,’ since in actual fact I was thrust – abruptly and without warning – from one time to the next, as though I had walked through some shifting, invisible portal dividing the present from the past.”
Overall, Mariana is an excellent time slip novel with great romance, present day action, and also a wonderful historical fiction past portion.  It has a great ending that you must experience for yourself!

Book Source:  Review copy from Sourcebooks.  Thank-you!!


  1. I loved this book too and I agree with you about the ending- it was great.

  2. I loved this book. I want more Kearsley now!

  3. So glad you enjoyed Mariana! It was my first Kearsley book a few years ago and I thought, "Wow, where has this author been hiding?" Since then, I've read almost everything she's written and there's really not a bad one in the bunch....they're all worthy reads. I hope you can read more of her work in the future.

  4. Laura, this does sound like a book I'd enjoy, and your description of it, and the mention of the marvelous ending, make me want to find out what happens even more. Wonderfully enthusiastic review!

  5. It's interesting to see how people react to books from the same author. I love both The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden but I only liked Mariana a lot! I know quite a few people for whom Mariana is the favourite though.

  6. I LOVED The Rose Garden, but like Marg said, I only liked Mariana a lot, probably because I prefer time travel to time slip.

  7. Hello
    Cool! That's a clever way of looooooking at it!
    Very attractive article,
    Thank you