Written by Susanna Kearsley, this novel follows Julia as she settles into her new home. A house she has seen twice before buying it, based only on the fact that she wants it and there was a flock of sterlings. A bit silly? When you are an illustrator for children’s books, I don’t think it matters where you live, so she does have a lot of flexibility.
After meeting with the local gardener Iain, Julia immediately purchases the recently vacated house and finds herself settling into the English Country life. Even though it would appear she is experiencing things that happened over 300 years ago. The fact that Geof appears to be a reincarnation of Richard, the love interest of the one Mariana who’s memories Julia seems to be experiencing, doesn’t help.
Overall I enjoyed this book. Having read (binged) a number of her books recently, I can tell that this was one of Susanna Kearsley’s early novels. How, you may ask? Well it isn’t the writing style, the diction and syntax are very consistent with her later novels.
No, it is how the story progresses. This is the first one that I really got a sense of the “modern gothic” that her novels are labeled as. Part of that may have been that it read more like a fully flushed out short story than a novel as her other books have. Which is interesting and mostly satisfying. Scroll down for the spoilers for more thoughts on that.
But, again, I would recommend this to anyone. Okay, maybe not the folks who hate ANYTHING paranormal. Anyone else should give this a shot. Honestly, this isn’t the normal, stereotypical paranormal. It doesn’t read like that. It reads as a story, a classic story that anyone can enjoy.
Now, TIME FOR SPOILERS!!!
Hm. I think this should be far enough down.
First, Geof. I didn’t dislike him, by any means. In fact, I rather liked him. Particularly since it turned out he WASN’T Richard.
AND I WAS RIGHT THAT IAIN WAS THE LOVE INTEREST! That description from the beginning. How he had a look like her brother. How he was always protective and looking out for her. How she was comfortable around him.
That being said, I wish Julia wouldn’t have wasted so much time with Geof. We got a few pages of her and Iain. I get it, I do. Big twist.
But, then, why didn’t Ian take her home the night she was falling asleep. Why was Iain apparently okay with them going out? Just, why? And yes, he was stressed and snippy and that was why. But… just… still.
And how did that work out in the end? How did Geof take it?
Mariana and Richard both looking different and in fact being different people I think was fitting. It made more sense than one getting to look the same and the other looking completely different.
And, let us all agree now, that Julia’s brother was her son. The whole “same look” bit adds to that. And how protective of her he is. I don’t know if Valerie is really anyone. She could have been Rachel, just as Geof could have been Evan, but at the same time, they could have not been.
Despite that, I still really liked this novel. Really REALLY liked this novel.