Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review - A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsely
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark / Audible Studios
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Date Read: December 20, 208
Length: 528 pages / 15 hours 42 minutes
Source: NetGalley / Purchased
★★★☆☆
Beloved New York Times bestselling author Susanna Kearsley delivers a riveting novel that deftly intertwines the tales of two women, divided by centuries and forever changed by a clash of love and fate.

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing-for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew-about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.
My Review

I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book.  I liked it well enough but I didn't fall in love with it as I had expected to do.  This is a story that is told in two timelines and I found that I really enjoyed one timeline much more than the other which usually makes it a little harder to completely enjoy a novel.  I am glad that I decided to finally pick this one up and did enjoy the overall experience.

As I mentioned, this book is told in two timelines.  The first timeline is focused on Sara.  Sara was a really interesting character that I found myself liking her right away.  Sara has Asperger's Syndrome which does have an impact on how she thinks and sees the world.  I enjoyed watching her work to break the code for Mary's diary as she was hired to do.  I think that my favorite part of her timeline was the interactions with all the other characters.  I loved watching her develop a relationship with Luc, Noah, and Denise.

The second timeline follows Mary Dundas in the 1730s.  Mary has been living with an aunt and really wants her father and brother to want her around so she is excited when her brother comes to get her.  Her brother really needs Mary to help out with a mission to protect the Jacobite cause.  Before she knows it, Mary is entangled in an exciting adventure that is quite dangerous.  I never felt the same connection to Mary that I did with Sara. Even though there was more action in her timeline, I found that everything seemed to move rather slowly. 

I believe that this was my first time listening to Katherine Kellgren's narration and I have to admit that it did take me some time to get used to her voice.  She did a good job with the rather large cast of characters and added a lot of emotion to the story.  By the end of the book she did win me over and I had no problem listening for hours at a time.

I think that a lot of readers will like this one a bit more than I did.  This was a book that told two very interesting stories.  Unfortunately, I preferred one of those stories much more than the other and anytime the book changed to a new timeline, I thought that it lost some momentum.  I do look forward to reading more from Susanna Kearsley in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.
About the Author

Susanna Kearsley is a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Globe and Mail bestselling author and former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving historical intrigue with modern suspense. Her books, published in translation in more than twenty countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and National Readers’ Choice Awards, and have finaled for the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year and the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. She lives near Toronto.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

22 comments:

  1. I sometimes find two storylines difficult and historical fiction is also sometimes a problem for me. I mean then I want historical NON-fiction, as in what really happened? It's good to read something you've had for awhile. Nice review. Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. I do often find on timeline appeals to me but sometimes it does work well. Thanks, Anne!

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  2. I haven't read this author but this sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. I do have several more of her books that I am looking forward to reading sometime soon.

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  3. It's awkward with dual timeline novels when one part of the story is more engaging than the other. Both aspects of this tale sound like they have great potential so it's a shame they didn't both live up to expectations for you

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    1. It is to bad when it happens but I did like the book.

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  4. A friend of mine loved the author and bought me a copy of one of her books. I still need to try

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    1. I have heard so many great things about this author. I do have more of her books to get to.

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  5. I think I did enjoy it a tad more than you, but the funny part is, I enjoyed the past line more than the present. Though, yay, I was glad that Sara was an Aspie and was written well. I think my favorite book by this author (so far, since I haven't read many) was the Shadowy Horses and it just so happened to stick to one time line. Plus, I liked the narrator for it. :)

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    1. I had a feeling that I was in the minority with which timeline I enjoyed. The past was a lot more details but the characters in the present just appealed to me a lot more.

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  6. Great review. It takes a knack to write in two timelines and keep the story going.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  7. I often have hat problem with a dual timeline-I generally seem to connect to one better than the other. Beautiful cover!

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  8. I can understand why you'd have mixed feelings on the story since you didn't really connect to one of the timelines I think I'd find Sara's story especially with her condition more interesting, too.

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    1. It seems like most reviewers liked the historical timeline but I just really liked Sara's much more.

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  9. I often find I like one timeline more and wish it had been about that one more

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    1. I would have loved to get more about Sara in this one!

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  10. Oh the double timeline or even just a double story in the same time can be so tricky!

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  11. I struggle with dual timelines so much. I almost always greatly prefer one over the other. Great review!

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    1. I have had that problem more than I would like although I have read some books that seem to handle everything very well.

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