Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Mariana

Susanna Kearsley
Time Travel Romance
Corgi Books/1994
Reprinted/1995, 2009, 2012

The first time Julia Beckett saw Greywethers she was only five, but she knew at once that it was her house. Now, twenty-five years later, by some strange chance, she has just become the new owner of the sixteenth-century Wilshire farmhouse. But Julia soon begins to suspect that more than coincidence has brought her there. 

As if Greywethers were a porthal between worlds, she finds herself abruptly transported back in time. Stepping into seventeenth-century England, Julia becomes Mariana, a beautiful young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love for Richard de Mornay, handsome forebear of the present squire of Crofton Hall. 

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past, falling ever deeper in love with Richard...until one day she realizes Mariana's life threatens to eclipse her own--and that she must find a way to lay the past to rest, or risk losing a chance for love in her own time.

Oh, what a lovely story!  Susanna Kearsley truly has the gift of story-telling.  I was enraptured by the characters, the plot and the setting. Mariana is a quiet romance, unfolding throughout the story but giving over to the development of the characters and the mystery surrounding Greywethers and its history.  

Julia Beckett has a history with Greywethers, the beautiful country home she has held in her heart ever since she first saw it.  She is now the owner and couldn't feel more at home.  The village is a welcoming place, giving Julia the opportunity to meet new and interesting people.  Then strange things begin to happen to Julia and she's not sure if she's hallucinating or having some very odd dreams.    It turns out she is traveling back in time, becoming Mariana, living Mariana's life.  It's all quite fascinating for both Julia and the reader.  Kearsley handles the time travel wonderfully and by the end it's easy to believe.  Julia is a character straight from modern day life who happens to have an extraordinary experience.  

I really did love exploring the possibilities of time travel with Julia.  At first, she finds it hard to believe, just as anyone might.  Then as things progress it becomes the only plausible explanation for the events that Julia is living.  Both Julia and Mariana's time periods are equally captivating.  Both held mysteries and romances while maintaining very distinct moods. Kearsley uses the two time periods to show how very different women are treated and what power, or lack of, they had.  Even with the differences there is still an underlying tone of the promise of love conquering all.

Mariana is a story that is at times humorous, thought provoking and deeply emotional.  If you cry easily be sure to have tissues handy.  It is a non-traditional romance I highly recommend! 

Rating:  A


  1. Leslie, this book sounds kind of enthralling. Is it? I haven't read a good time travel book in a long, long time! Son of the Morning by Howard is a favorite of mine, but this one just sounds moody and atmospheric. I see it's from the 90's too. LOL!

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Looks like you found a forgotten gem with this book, Leslie. Sounds very sweet and romantic. I wonder if I could find it at a local library or used book sale. How did you come across this one?

  3. Hils ~ I too loved Son of the Morning and I think you'll like this one too!

    Christine ~ Good chance the library has it - that's where I got my copy. I picked this one up after enjoying Kearsley's The Rose Garden.

  4. Ugh, I really need to read her books! Everyone just raves about her and I have a couple in my TBR pile. Sigh. I hate when I have some mental blocks :(

  5. Nath ~ I have no doubt you could find something of Ms. Kearsley you would like. Dig into that tbr pile. :)

  6. I so love Susanna Kearsley's writing! I think I only have one left to read!