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Friday, August 10, 2018

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Title: Bellewether
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: 7 August 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 448 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance
My Rating: 4 crowns

"The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."
It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.
Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page.
My Thoughts

What is there not to love about a new Susanna Kearsley book! Her stories are always fabulously written, well researched and completely captivating. To my mind she is the Queen of dual time storylines. When you open the pages of one of Susanna’s books, you enter into a new world, one that guarantees rich historical drama combined with present day ties.

‘I was motivated even more right now by seeing those two simple, soulless dates bookending what had been the life of a young woman; and by knowing that, through research, I could fill the space between those dates with something that approached that woman’s shape.’

So living up to the precedents set, Bellwether will present two women from two different times, yet seemingly tied together in some way. There will be plenty of historical detail, I knew so very little about the Seven Years War and there is much to learn about the British, French and slavery. There are many interesting characters here, from both timelines, but you are sure to develop a fondness for the Wilde family. In fact Susanna’s explanation at the end of the book will shed some interesting light on what inspired her, characters both real and in some cases based closely on prevalent figures of the day.  They were interesting and easy to connect with. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and how Susanna cleverly mirrored past with present - particularly how she linked the end and beginning of many chapters even though the dates differed.

Now whilst I enjoyed the book, I will have to confess that I was somewhat disappointed. Her writing finesse is indisputable, however, it was just so slow, really in need of more drama and action scattered throughout. There were, at times, endless descriptions of banal things. Even the ending proved a little too neat and tidy for some characters,  yet others were left with unresolved issues. I’m still even a little confused over the significance of the title of the book.

So whilst I enjoyed the book, I did not love the book - rich in historical fiction and detail but just a little too slow in parts for me.

‘He was looking for the wound. He wouldn’t find one.  All her true wounds were so deep within her nobody would ever see them’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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