Friday, June 21, 2013

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Nicola Marter has a rare gift, and she is afraid of it. The gift makes her different, but it can also give her a window into the past. She can touch an item and see the history of the item. When a poor dying woman brings a rare treasure her family has saved through the years into the art store where she works, Nicola, is able to see that it was given to the woman’s ancestor, Anna, by Empress Catherine of Russia. Unfortunately, seeing it through the use of psychometry is not proving it legally. Nicola cannot get the object out of her mind. She knows her powers are limited, but she does know of someone that can help her.

A few years ago, Nicola had met another person gifted with ESP in Edinburg. Robbie is at one with his gift, and when Nicola goes to find him, she also discovers that his small town accepts him as he is. Nicola has spent her life trying to hide her gift as her grandfather had warned her to do. Robbie and Nicola set off to Russia on a trip for Nicola’s work as well as to discover the past of the Firebird by following the imprints of history of Anna.

Anna is an intriguing character. The daughter of a Scottish patriot that is trying to get King James back on the throne, Anna is hidden while a child to protect her from the forces of King George. Anna travels to France during another uprising in Scotland and lives for a time with nuns. After unwittingly exposing family secrets to a spy in the nunnery, Anna runs away while getting relocated, and ends up with kindly Vice-Admiral Gordon in St. Petersburg during the reign of Peter the Great. The novel skips ahead to Anna as a young woman and the relationship she has with her adopted family and other families that support the “King over the Water” and also with a young and handsome Rogue. Will Anna be able to find her true family and true love? Will Nicola and Robbie discover the truth behind the Firebird? Will Nicola admit the truth about herself?

I loved, loved, and loved The Firebird. I had just finished The Shadowy Horses and eagerly started The Firebird. It starts after The Shadowy Horses with young Robbie now a twenty-something police officer. It was fantastic to get some of my questions from The Shadowy Horses answered and also to see what a grown-up Robbie was like. I loved Robbie and Nicola’s relationship and would love to see it explored even more in the future. I must admit though that even though I loved Robbie and Nicola, I loved Anna even more. As the story switched back and forth between the two timelines, I couldn’t wait to go back to the past. I also loved that the story mostly took place in Russia during the time of Peter the Great. I learned some new things and was fascinated by the Russian history.

I also loved the author notes at the end where Kearsley describes her research and how most of the characters in the novel were true to history. Fascinating. She also stated that many of the characters were from her novel, The Winter Sea. I have heard so many good things about that novel; I definitely need to pick it up!

Overall, the Firebird is an excellent historical fiction/contemporary/suspense novel with memorable characters, great romance, and a riveting plot line. I highly recommend this novel.

Book Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!


  1. I loved both timelines too! Both Robbie and Nicola were interesting characters and the way Kearlsey built their romance and that of Anna's was so good I couldn't put this book down. Your review is fantastic, bringing out elements in the story I did not. I have The Winter Sea too but have not yet read it.

  2. The Firebird sounds remarkable--thanks for a wonderful review of this historical novel, Laura!

  3. I liked Susana Kearsley, and I really want to read this. I just have to finish The Winter Sea and the Shadowy Horses first. I think I may make that my July goal, to read those three books. Thank you for the review.

  4. Everyone seems to love this author - I really need to try her work.

  5. I haven't read The Winter Sea yet (sadly), but I was okay reading this book without having read it. I think it would have been even more exciting though if I had read it. I really want to read that book!