Review: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Where did you get the book: e-ARC from publisher
Release date: Out now

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects.

fortuneIt turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take… to find the road that will lead her safely home.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

A Desperate Fortune is my second Kearsley book I’ve read. While I liked Mariana, I adored this book. Not only has it got two lovely romances but the historical romance has such a romantic HEA ending that I can see myself re-reading it for many years to come. It was so beautiful. I liked Sara and Luc’s quiet romance in the present day but I was glued to the pages of Mary Dundas and her interactions with the silent and deadly, Hugh MacPhearson.

Sara is a computer programmer that travels to Paris to work on a diary that is ciphered by Mary Dundas, a young and sheltered heroine who embarks on a dangerous journey with a group of stranger companions. In present day, Sara doesn’t work well with other people. She has Asperger’s and soon finds herself completely invested in breaking the code of Mary’s diary. But she also soon finds herself caught up in an attraction with the gorgeous frenchman Luc. Sara bonds with his son Noah and strikes up a friendship with Luc’s ex-wife. Sara’s story was very quiet but there was an urgency in deciphering Mary’s diary and I found myself irritated when Mary’s story was interrupted by the break in Sara’s story. That’s how engrossed I was.

Sara’s story was a little boring in comparison to Mary’s. Sara interacts with Claudine, the owner of the house and diary, and her romance with Luc is very light but sweet. Sara and Luc travel to some of the places Mary visited but nothing really excited happened between them. I just wanted to dive back into Mary’s story.

Mary’s journey with her companions wasn’t full of high-octane action. There were moments of danger but it was her interactions with Hugh McPhearson that made me fall in love with this book. I told Has she needs to read this book because Hugh is a silent, deadly and broody hero that totally ensnared me. I crushed on him so badly. At first I didn’t know if he was going to be a villain but by midway I was halfway in love. Kearsley is so talented because Mary and Hugh’s romance had me never wanting this book to the end. Mary was very frightened of him at first, especially as their second meeting involved Hugh using that very scary knife of his. Hugh was the protector of the group and through their travels, Mary’s reactions to him change and we see glimpses of Hugh that reveal he had a tragic and very difficult past that’s left him very quiet and unapproachable. He’s also quite deadly and is a very dangerous man. Which comes in handy when the group are set upon by an Englishman hunting the man they are protecting.

Throughout their journey, Mary slowly falls in love with Hugh and the ending? OMG. Most romantic ending I’ve had the pleasure of reading. But it was far too quick and I would have loved more time spent with Mary and Hugh, especially more kissy times. I’ve been in the doldrums with historical romance for some time but A Desperate Fortune may have made me fall back in love with the genre.

I give a Desperate Fortune an A-

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