Allison & Busby, 2nd edition
Published: Oct 3, 2009
Trade paperback, 400 pages
After reading The Rose Garden, (read my review) I just knew I wanted to read Mariana. When I spotted it on the shelf of a used book store I nabbed it. Susanna Kearsley's novels tend to evoke mystery and romance with the element of time travel, and Mariana is no different. I can't say that I loved it like I did The Rose Garden, but I did enjoy it a lot.
Julia Beckett moves into Greywethers, a sixteen century farmhouse, where she senses she belongs. She befriends the locals and enjoys interacting with Vivien, Iain and Geoff de Mornay, the handsome and wealthy owner of Crofton Hall. Then Julia starts having episodes where she goes back in time but as Mariana, a woman who lived at Greywethers three hundred years ago. With each episode back in time she lives what happened to Mariana until it all comes full circle in the present.
The ending was totally unexpected for me. Parts of it were brilliant, but I must admit the love story of Mariana touched me so much that when it came full circle through Julia in the present it was a little disappointing, the revelation too abrupt. For some reason, I have an easier time with the concept of time travel than time slip, where a character goes back in time and lives someone else's life. However, like I said, I really enjoyed the whole journey, especially the historical one that involved treachery and danger. Kearsley has a way of immersing the reader in the mystery of the past and making it all come together in the end.
This was a compelling read, pulling me in to find out who Mariana was and why Julia became her as she slipped through time. The cast of characters are intriguing and all play an important role in the plot, so much so that if you miss a few details, you may miss an essential piece of the mystery. I also enjoyed the setting of Exbury, a small village in England. For fans of time travel and romance, this one is not to be missed. I can see why it's still a favorite since having been first published in 1994.
Reviewed by Laura
Note: This book is rated P = profanity for religious expletives.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Time Travel Reading Challenge, TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Disclosure: I bought this book at a used book store. I was not told how to rate or review this product.
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