Susanna Kearsley (Facebook) (Twitter)
Sourcebooks Landmark (2013), Paperback original (ISBN 140227663X / 9781402276637)
Fiction, 544 pages
Reason for Reading: She Reads Book Club selection
“He sent his mind in search of me that morning.
“I was on the Tube, a half a minute out of Holland Park and in that muzzy not-awake-yet state that always bridged the time between my breakfast cup of coffee and the one that I’d have shortly at my desk. I nearly didn’t notice when his thoughts touched mine. It was a rare thing these days; rarer still that I would let him in, but my own thoughts were drifting and I knew that his were, too. In fact, from what I saw of where he was—the angle of the ceiling and the dimly shadowed walls—I guessed that he was likely still in bed, just waking up himself.
“I didn’t need to push him out. Already he was drawing back, apologizing. Sorry. Not a spoken word, but still I heard the faint regretful tone of his familiar voice. And then he wasn’t there.”
Book description, from the publisher’s website
One Mysterious Relic.
Separated By Centuries.
Nicola Marter was born with a gift so rare and dangerous, she kept it buried deep. When she encounters a desperate woman trying to sell a small wooden carving called “The Firebird,” claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof.
But Nicola’s held the object. She knows the woman is telling the truth.
Comments: There have been times that I’ve pushed up against a posting deadline for a blog tour or online discussion, and written a review before I finished reading the book. There have been a few times–not many!–when I didn’t get around to reading the book at all, and posted a “feature” instead. I think this may be the first time I’ve posted about a book that I have chosen not to finish.
One of the (great) things about book clubs is that they can provide opportunities to read in genres that we might not explore on our own. Susanna Kearsley’s novel The Firebird is the July selection for the She Reads Book Club; it’s a blend of historical mystery and contemporary fiction with strong elements of romance and a seasoning of paranormal. The leads in the present-day story, Nicola and Rob, are telepaths, and they are trying to discover the true provenance of an artifact–a carving called “The Firebird,” based on Russian folklore–by psychically tracing the women of the family who possessed it back through nearly three centuries, via their intense mental connection.
The Firebird is, in all honesty, a book I doubt I would have picked up on my own. I gave it about 150 pages before I set it aside, and I think that was a fair shot for a novel that I reasonably suspected would turn out to be “not my thing” in the end. I wasn’t uninterested in the dynamic between Nicola and Rob, but I couldn’t get into the story they were trying to uncover–their expositional “conversations” about historical context didn’t help–and, eventually, I just didn’t feel the desire to stick with the whole thing for nearly 400 pages more. I appreciated the opportunity to give it a try, though. Readers whose “thing” it is will probably appreciate The Firebird much more, and you can find their thoughts via She Reads’ July book introduction post.