Monday, March 25, 2013

Susanna Kearsley - Mariana

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.

Comment: I've picked this book because I've read some excellent comments about it and I wanted to see for myself. I've enjoyed the author's style and writing rhythm in the previous two books by her I've read so I was actually with pretty good expectations about this one as well.

When she was a child, Julia Beckett saw a house during one of the trips she did with her family and she fell in love with it at first sight. She felt compelled to that house and she didn't know why but several years later she is back and buys it. Soon, some strange things start happening to her and she has flashes where she becomes someone else, from centuries ago, and lives moments in that other person skin. Dealing with what she thinks is madness and her everyday life, no wonder Julia feels her emotions are getting the better of her, but as she realizes what is can she pretend it isn't real?

 Wow. I really liked this book. I think it's very similar to Sophia's Secret (or Winter Sea) that I've read some months ago, but I have to say I preferred this one. The basis of the two are the same, a young woman seeking refuge in a special, more rustic place, to work and meeting interesting people with past experiences taking up parts of her daily life making her see what was happening centuries ago. But the similarities stop here, because the details change. Sophia's Secret was more about memories in the things, about someone else and Mariana is more centered in the reincarnation theory. Personally I liked this one better because Julia didn't think of somebody else back in history, she was that person. Very enthralling I assure you.

I'm very curious about reincarnation and I actually have read several books by Brian Weiss, M.D. on the subject and how people can see their past lives through hypnoses. It's very interesting and although it's not the same in this story I couldn't help but feeling curious about the book even more after knowing this fact.
Julia feels very conflicted about what is happening to her today and what was happening to Mariana  centuries ago. There comes a time she can't be objective about the two lives and even those around her see the difference. 
I was eager to know who was in her life today as well, as the past lives theory says we surround ourselves with the same people over and over, although they can play different roles in the different lives and Mariana was deeply in love with someone and I really wanted to see who that person was in Julia's life. She thought someone and the clues did point out to him, but I have to be honest, it would have been too easy so I suspected someone else...I even think after a while it become a bit obvious but I also believe the author was a little bit too subtle in that because even after the end I still think the clues to that weren't that easy to figure out and I can't help feeling disappointed about the rushed way we saw how things really were.
The story was engrossing and the writing was simple but fluid, as usual. I'm very happy to read the books by this author and I think she does a great job with the character's details and experiences. It's all very compelling. In this one I was also very interested in what was happening with both times, th present and the past whereas in Sophia's Secret the story in the past wasn't that interesting for me. Mariana was the first to be written and I think she really got a wonderful story the first try.
This was a great book as well and to this day I still can't help but think about how it ended, although that part could have been a bit longer just to reassure the reader of how things are. Still, an amazing read, without a doubt.


  1. Sonia, I agree with you! I loved, loved this book! But, but, but... that ending... It was the only reason for the minus I gave it in my grade. We can't discuss the who because it would really spoil the surprise at the end, BUT I wish Kearsley had not been so darn subtle. Or that she had given us a bit MORE at the end.

    The rest of the book was a treasure. I love Mariana and Julia's stories. There was a great balance there. I liked the "time travel" aspect of it much more in this book than in The Winter Sea.

  2. Hilcia!
    That ending..arghhh she really was over the top with the subtlety...I suspected things but there wasn't anything in the story to direct the reader on that direction lol...I'm sending you a message on GR so we can discuss the whos. :)