Wednesday, February 13, 2013

'Mariana' by Susanna Kearsley

Blizzards are good for a few things. Dropping a few feet of snow is one, and blowing out the power to your home is another. That's right wonderful world of T.T.P. - a little stormed named Nemo ran through my corner of New England and brought down my power for a little over 40 hours from Friday night well into Sunday afternoon. Why am I telling you this? Well, I'd irrationally banked on the possibility of having an entire weekend holed up due to inclement weather doing nothing but making progress with my literary work-in-progress, catching up on some T.V. and, oh yeah... get a few blog posts together. Unfortunately, I hadn't factored in my particular homes tendincy to lose power every time a storm even glances by.

Ultimately, I tell you this because I'm asking for your pity understanding as I scramble to review everything I've read (have to say that was one benefit of the storm... I definitely caught up on the reading list). Hopefully I'll carve out some time and get them going again with some regularity. 

All of that aside, let's talk about 'Mariana' by Susanna Kearsley, shall we?  

I'm going to give this one a solid, 'meh.' Now granted, this flavor of book is probably teetering right on the edge of what I'd usually pick up, (and I wouldn't have even come across it at all if it weren't for my future-MIL buying it on our shared Amazon account), but it seemed interesting enough. I'm sorry if my interest gets peaked when the synopsis of novel is:
As if Greywethers were a portal between worlds, [Julia Beckett] finds herself transported into seventeenth-century England, becoming Mariana, a young woman struggling against danger and treachery, and battling a forbidden love.
Long review short, this novel was interesting... kinda. The opening was absolutely captivating but what followed was about 100 pages of borderline boring narrative, 100 pages of somewhat less boring narrative and than a truly stellar final third.... until you get to the last few pages and by the end I was absolutely confused.

Maybe I should explain that before someone points me out for being daft. I get what happened but without giving out any spoilers* that given the focus of the entire story I was more than a little miffed by the time the end came round.

Bottom Line: Read it if you love other things that Susanna Kearsley has done or historical fiction. This author has a great following and is insanely prolific. Skip it if you don't like fantasy romance or if historical fiction just isn't your thing.

*After I finished reading that last page I actually did a search on him because by the end of the book I couldn't picture what he looked like. I had a clear mental image of the other guy, but him? I'd pictured some mid to late-forties guy going gray... not, well  - and you know what? That's not surprising because according to my search I didn't find one, substantial description of what he looked like! Most of you might call that a nit-pick, but because I hadn't been able to give what's-his-face a "face" I couldn't connect with the character. That is the main reason that the ending felt like it'd been forced. Created for the soul (see what I did there?) purpose of throwing the reader an utterly unremarkable curve-ball ending. 

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