Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Published April 7, 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark
For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home.

My Thoughts…

If asked to categorize A Desperate Fortune I would label it a romantic, historical, fiction book. 
The dual timelines are perfect.   The storyline set in 1732 is told through a diary that Sara is translating.   The historical part of this timeframe is wonderful.   I could picture the towns they were travelling through, the people they had met, and the way they interacted with each other.    The wonderful horses, the beautiful carriages, the horsemen, and of course the houses they stayed in were all brought to life through Susanna Kearsley’s wonderful writing style.  The romance part of 1732 was quiet and subtle.    It was not the main part of the book, yet it was the part I kept looking forward too. 

The current timeline is Sara’s story.  She lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and just wants to live a “normal” life.    She moves to start working on Mary Dundas’ diary and realizes that she can do more than what she thinks.  I enjoyed watching her figure out how to handle her different relationships with the other characters.    Everyone from the cat to Noah, a young boy, made a difference to how she acted and how she carried herself.   When Luc came into the story I was curious as to how she would react to him.   Their relationship was slow and steady.   It was a slow build to an ending that I was hoping for.  

This is my second book by Susanna Kearsley and I was so excited to read it.   I have to say I was not prepared for how much of a slow read it was.   The beginning was very slow and it did speed up a little as the story proceeded.   Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed this entire story.  I loved the characters, I loved the storyline, and I definitely recommend A Desperate Fortune.   

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