Sunday, 12 January 2014

Review - Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird

Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird
Genres: historical fiction, fantasy

I originally picked this book up while I was working at my local library. It was a new addition to the collection and had some good ratings, so why not? I admit that I didn't pay much attention to the exact genres, which is lucky, or I might not have wanted to read it and I would have missed out on a great book. It is #2 of a series, which I didn't know until it was time to review, so it can certainly be read without having read the first. Here's my take on the book.

It tells the story of Nicola, a woman with psychic gifts - gifts that she doesn't want to embrace or use. When she touches things she will sometimes be shown flashes of information about the object's past. Through her work with art and antiques, she meets an older woman whose very future depends on the sale of a valuable antique - a carved wooden bird that she says came from Russia's Empress Catherine. The only problem is, there's no paperwork or proof that the relic is genuine. Nicola has handled the small wooden bird and seen visions, so she knows it's for real, and takes pity on the woman. She sets out to see if she can use her abilities to find real-world proof which would make the bird valuable in the art world.

More than anything else this is a deep and heartfelt look into Nicola's belief in herself. It is the parallel story of Nicola's journey and also of that of a small girl growing up in the 18th century, told with a beauty and tenderness which had me weeping at times. You know a book is well-written when you're can't even close it despite the tears running onto your pillow. The author has done a tremendous job of building the two main female characters, and they are incredibly deep and three-dimensional, leading to great empathy for their difficulties during the book.

And it is rare that a work of fiction can bring the learning of history into the plot without distracting the reader or overloading with historical facts. The only negative, from my perspective, is that I felt the book began a little too slowly. Stick with it, you will really begin to enjoy it once Nicola and her companion begin on their travels and the young girl begins to take centre stage.

This book is highly recommended and I give it 9/10.

Purchase on Amazon: Susanna Kearsley - The Firebird

No payment was received for this review.

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