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November/December 2010: Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Tue December 28th, 2010, 12:07 pm

Yes I'd say she's like Barbara Erskine - I think the other author you're referring to is Susan Hill? Not sure if I'd call Mariana a ghost story, and there's definitely some romance in there! I agree it's not quite sure what genre it belongs to, although I wouldn't really call it HF as such.
Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Tue December 28th, 2010, 1:13 pm

It's about reincarnation - it's not a ghost story.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Tue February 8th, 2011, 7:04 pm

I'm reading The Winter Sea at the moment (Kindle edition) and am wondering if any of the author's other books, this one included, will have ebook releases?

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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Fri February 18th, 2011, 10:26 pm

I must say, I was disappointed with this one :( . I expected much more of the historical bit (in both length and depth) and less of the present. To me there was way too much present in comparison to the past. And yes, I usually do enjoy the historical bits more in timeslips, but in this case I didn't because of the lack of details, it was almost a costume piece where the time period was incidental to the plot.

And yes, I was reminded of Barbara Erskine, but while I found all the modern characters in Lady of Hay thoroughly unlikable, I found the modern characters in this one all too likable! It got a little nauseating at times...lol. I also thought Barbara Erskine did the historical bits much better and evoked her time period more convincingly. Mariana had too many modern sensibilities for my liking.

Anyway, for me it was an average read. I did like it but didn't love it. Am I the only one?
Jenny

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue March 8th, 2011, 3:57 am

From what I've seen, most people like Mariana the best of Susanna Kearsley's books. I don't think Kearsley's books could be considered historicals -- at least none of the ones I've read -- so if you were expecting a historical I can see where you'd be disappointed. Her genre is definitely contemporary -- to me she is like a more modern Mary Stewart. I've been wanting to read this one for quite some time and am very pleased that I just got my hands on a copy. So it's next up TBR. :)

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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Tue March 8th, 2011, 7:25 am

Hi Michy,

Yes, I'd heard people rave about Mariana so that's why I was left wondering what all the fuss was about. And I agree, definitely not HF but then I didn't find the modern story very satisfying either. To me, it didn't seem to do either very well :( .

But, I'm currently reading Sophia's Secret/The Winter Sea and am liking it much, much better. The historical part is much more detailed and I'm quite liking the contemporary story. A couple of people on Goodreads said they liked this one better than Mariana too, so I'm not feeling so bad about not really liking Mariana now :p .

I do however really like Kearsley's writing style which flows beautifully!
Last edited by Jemidar on Tue March 8th, 2011, 7:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Jenny

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Currently Reading:


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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross
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Post by Madeleine » Tue March 8th, 2011, 2:35 pm

I enjoyed Mariana but wouldn't rave about it, haven't read any of her others yet.
Currently reading: "Longstone" by L J Ross

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue March 8th, 2011, 3:35 pm

I really recommend The Shadowy Horses. It is set in contemporary Scotland. I am normally not a fan of contemporary settings, but Kearsley is so good at them that I enjoy hers. In Shadowy Horses the dialogue is really wonderful -- it sparkles and is laugh-out-loud in a couple of places.

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Fri March 11th, 2011, 9:36 pm

[quote=""Jemidar""] I found the modern characters in this one all too likable! It got a little nauseating at times...lol. [/quote] I know what you mean, and this seems to be a hallmark of Susanna Kearsley's writings -- characters who just fall effortlessly into friendships with each other (even with complete strangers) and who have conversations that are witty and smooth. But it doesn't bother me; for me this is part of the fun of her books, and what provides the "escapist" element. I enjoy slipping into her world because, well, it's just not quite like that in the real world I inhabit! :p

I think what's bothering me most about Mariana so far is the too-glib acceptance of Julia's time regressions. Even her brother the vicar immediately suggests it must be reincarnation, without even blinking an eye. She herself doesn't seem to be the least bit troubled about what's happening to her. A little too smoothed-over for me, but so far it's not enough to ruin the book. It's still an immensely fun (and fast) read.

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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Tue March 15th, 2011, 10:27 am

No, none of my problems with Mariana ruined it for me. I still liked it, I was just a little underwhelmed. I do intend to read more of her stuff :) .
Jenny

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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