Review: Mariana by Susana Kearsley

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew that it was her house. And now that she’s at last become its owner, she suspects that she was drawn there for a reason.

As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, she finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past…until she realizes Mariana’s life is threatening to eclipse her own, and she must find a way to lay the past to rest or lose the chance for happiness in her own time.

*blurb taken from author’s official website*

When I saw this over at DA being reviewed, it caught my interest — and that surprised me. I’m not a huge a fan of reincarnation, and of any sort of time travel flashbacks. Lately, though, I’ve been in the mood for reads that are different.

Mariana surprised me on so many levels. What drew me in instantly was the author’s voice. The easy style of writing drew me in and straight away I knew that this was going to be a read that would keep me up at night until I finished the whole damn book.

Julia has always had this fascination with what she likes to call her little Grey house, ever since she was a child passing by when on holiday with her parents. Over the years, she’s always remembered the little Grey house, and has always been drawn back to it. When Julia passes her little house once again, she finally gives into her impulse to look around. And by doing so she finds out that Greyweather is for sale. Julia goes with her heart and gut and buys Greywethers. By doing so, she’s made the huge decision of moving from London and leaving her group of friends for her house and for a small village and the people she meets there; Geoff, a Lord of the manor; Ian, a farmer who is best friends with Geoff; Julia, the landlady of the only pub.

When Julie first has her episode of traveling back in time, she’s scared witless and thinks she’s going crazy. And she goes to her brother Tom for help and admits what’s going on. I did think that Tom was too easily accepting of believing Julia, but again I had to put away my dislike of anything hokey in my contemporary settings.

Mariana ended up being a compelling read because the flashbacks were so captivating, and both stories were compelling with the different set of characters. I did think that Mariana’s flashbacks seemed to be more developed with the characters compared to the present day characters with Julia. Mariana and Richard had such a compelling chemistry and I was dreading what was going to happen to them because you know it’s not going to be a HEA. And you know instantly that the present day characters are connected with this reincarnation story, but you don’t know in what way — and that’s what kept me reading. I wanted to know what happened to Mariana and Richard, even if it was sad. And I usually avoid sad endings like the plague.

Julia has to navigate herself through these flashbacks, and it’s a journey for her because her story wouldn’t be finished until she lived and felt how Mariana’s story concluded. It’s hard to write this review without spoiling the whole book because it’s a big whopper, one that I was really happy with. I had inklings throughout the book, but when the ending finally happened, I thought YES. It took a completely different direction, and ended up leaving me with a big happy smile. I did feel that the ending was quite rushed, though, and would have liked more romance time.

I know this review is quite vague but if I reveal anything more, it will spoil the whole book. All in all, Mariana was a big happy surprise read and I’ll definitely be checking out the backlist titles of the author.

I give Mariana a B+

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1 thought on “Review: Mariana by Susana Kearsley”

  1. The comments are back!

    I loved this book and I agree with your review, the romance between Mariana and Richard overshadowed Julia and Geoffrey’s relationship, so that part felt unbalanced, something I didn’t feel while reading The Winter Sea which has a similar double romance past/present. But this book was first published in 1994 and she has come a long way as an author. You have to read The Rose Garden (and TWS), her voice is so distinct and evocative, I’m not a visual reader in the sense that I don’t usually picture things as I read but with her books I felt like I was right there in the middle of the story.

    The ending was, well, different. I liked it but it took me by surprise and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but as you said, it was rushed, so maybe I just needed more time to absorb it.

    Great review!

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