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The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The Firebird (edition 2013)

by Susanna Kearsley

Series: Slains (2)

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4023126,569 (3.98)26
Title:The Firebird
Authors:Susanna Kearsley
Info:Sourcebooks Landmark (2013), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:paranormal, historical fiction

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The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

  1. 00
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (LAKobow)
    LAKobow: Also involves elements of realism mixed with fantasy, Scotland, romance, and historical fiction.

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Perfection my friends. Fast paced and wonderfully romantic. A perfect beach or cold winters night read. This is one you want to recommend for fans of Diana Gabaldon. Excellent pacing, intriguing characters, wonderful writing and hot scottish guy, what's not to love. Trust me, go get yourself a copy. You will thank me. Just send wine, coffee, money or David Tennant in thanks for highlighting this book for you. ( )
  mountie9 | Sep 29, 2015 |
Now this one I liked - a lot!

This builds on The Winter Sea and moves the story along. This is the story of Anna, Sophia's daughter. Anna's life could have been a tragedy - given up at birth by her mother and raised by a neighbor and later sent to live with nuns and finally landing with a new family in Russia. But it isn't a tragedy - instead it is the story of strength and poise and love. Anna accepts each stage of her life for what it is and what she can learn from it. That sounds a little ridiculous, I know. But, I really liked her plucky attitude and stamina for a 1720 girl!

This story is told in pieces by Nikola - an English girl with a gift for 'seeing.' Her connection to Anna is not through written words like Carrie's was - but by touching an object and 'seeing' the history and the events that the object was involved with. Nikola is a Russian art dealer who was asked to appraise a small carved bird - the firebird. She sees the Tsarina of Russia handing this bird to Anna - but doesn't know who Anna is or how she can prove the object was actually important.

Nikola enlists her friend Rob to help with the process - Rob has a stronger inner eye and together they embark to Russia to discover Anna's story. In the same way that Winter Sea told a double story - so does The Firebird. As the story of Anna is being told - Nikola and Rob's story is also unfolding.

I liked this book much more. I was very vested in the characters! There were a couple twists that I didn't quite anticipate that made the end very engaging. The history was important - but somehow it was easier for me to follow along without really knowing all the details. Maybe that happened because I cared for Anna more.

I would recommend this one! It was a fun and quick read. ( )
  kebets | Sep 14, 2015 |
Nicola has a rare gift, she can touch an item and glimpse the lives of its previous owners. When she holds a small wood carving called The Firebird she sees a glimpse of Catherine I, wife and later successor to the Tsar Peter the Great. The Firebird is a fresh take on the time traveling romance genre, blending it with the ever popular paranormal romance genre. This is the second book in the Slains series by Canadian author Suzanna Kearsley.

My wife is a big fan of Kearsley and since this novel is partly set in Russian she thought I should check it out. There is some interesting aspects of the life and times of Peter the Great and allowed me to learn a little more about Russian history and culture. However there is something about this novel that I did not like. The Firebird is a story with no conflict and no antagonist and for me this meant it was a really boring novel. I understand people would read this book for the romance but I was uninterested in that story line, I was reading this for the Russian setting. Obviously I am the wrong person to judge The Firebird, it really was not my type of book.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/literature/book-reviews/genre/historical-fiction/au... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Aug 23, 2015 |
This book started as a 2 star, but once I was able to suspend my disbelief, I enjoyed the story. I did not realize until writing this review that it was part of a series. I may have to search out the others in the series. Since it was historical fiction, I feel I learned something about Russian history. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
This is a companion book to The Winter Sea, so while it is nice to read both, and to have read The Winter Sea first, it is entirely unnecessary. Both are very well researched, shedding light not only on the Jacobite Movement in Scotland, but in this book, on the active Jacobite community in St. Petersburg as well.

The action in The Firebird moves back and forth from the present to the early 18th Century. The protagonist in current times is Nicola (“Nick”) Marter, who works at a gallery of Russian art and artifacts. As the story begins, her boss Sebastian introduces her to a Scottish woman who has a small carved bird she calls “The Firebird”; she claims it was given to an ancestor named Anna by the Empress Catherine (the wife of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great). When Nick holds the bird, she suddenly has a vision of Anna receiving the bird from the Empress. Nick has the gift of psychometry, which allows her to see visions about objects that she touches. She has tried to repress this gift, however; she doesn’t want to be seen as a freak. She doesn’t tell the woman or Sebastian about what she sees; it wouldn’t help in any event to use information derived in that way as “verification.”

When Sebastian asks Nick to go to St. Petersburg for an art exhibit, Nick wonders if she can find some evidence there to prove the true provenance of the carved bird, and turns for help to Rob McMorran. Nick met Rob when she took some tests at an institute researching parapsychology. There was no one there with more skill than Rob, and they began seeing each other. But Nick ran from the relationship; she wanted to hide her skills, even from herself, and have a “normal” life.

Rob has never gotten over Nick, however, and accompanies her to Russia. On the way, Nick tells Rob about Russian folklore concerning the firebird. Although there are a couple of different stories, the point of both of them is that what you bring back with you at the end of a journey might not be what you started out searching for in the beginning. And that of course will clearly be the theme of the book.

When they get to Russia, Rob and Nick together reach back into the past and find the young woman Anna, who was born in Scotland but later lived in St. Petersburg. As the two go back to their past (via their visions), we learn how and why Anna ended up in St. Petersburg along with other Jacobites. [Jacobites were mostly Irish and Scots in the early 1700’s who were seeking to bring the exiled Catholic King James VIII back from France to take the Scottish throne. James is Jacobus in Latin.] The two “meet” a number of characters from The Winter Sea, as well as some new ones, since Anna was just a very small child in the previous book.

There are parallel romances in both the past and the present, with one character even paraphrasing one of the most famous quotes from Jane Eyre (and probably the one most often paraphrased), saying:

"And looking at his face I felt a swift, insistent tug beneath my heart, as though someone had tied a string around my ribs and pulled it sharply.”

The ending will satisfy readers, even though, as with the quest for the legendary firebird, all the various seekers end up with something different than what they thought they wanted.

Evaluation: I’d have to say, to my surprise, that I liked this book a tad more than The Winter Sea (which I also enjoyed), in spite of the fact that this book had a paranormal element and the previous book soft-peddled that aspect. I loved the characters, especially those in the past. Anna is a winning character both as a child and as the 17-year-old she becomes later in the book. The author is very adept at romantic scenes, more interested in conveying the emotional engagement of the characters than giving readers anatomy lessons. And of course it’s hard to beat a setting that combines Scotland and St. Petersburg! ( )
  nbmars | Jun 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Successfully blending a contemporary romance with an historical adventure is no easy task, but in The Firebird, author Susanna Kearsley goes one step further, bestowing supernatural abilities upon her protagonist. ... As Nicola and Rob follow clues from Anna’s life, the novel’s focus shifts to the young girl, and the present-day love story is put on the backburner. The shift is so pronounced that scenes featuring Nicola and Rob in the second half of the novel seem jarringly out of place. The rich details of Anna’s story, which includes the appearance of several historical figures, carries the novel, while Nicola’s story pales in comparison.
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Though I am old with wandering,
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone…
-W. B. Yeats.
The Song of Wandering Aengus
This book is for Lee Ann Ray, who first suggested I give Robbie his own story.
First words
He sent his mind in search of me that morning.
I might have been mistaken when I thought I saw Rob give a nod of greeting to the empty air behind me. But I didn’t mistake the short laugh he gave, low, nor the phrase he spoke, not for my ears. And in Latin.
“Aye. And when your father was away and fighting and ye were a bairn, why did your mother hide ye with another family?”
“So the bad men widnae find me,” Anna said.
“Exactly.” Colonel Graeme’s voice was a deep rumble in his chest that offered comfort. “They were very brave, your parents. If the agents of Queen Anne had ever chanced to catch your father, he’d have stood through any torture they’d have tried to use upon him and he never would betray his king. But if they’d learned ye were his daughter, if they’d ever taken ye or threatened ye with harm… well, then.” The colonel did not specify what Anna’s father might have done then. All he said was, “Men can bear most hurts, lass, but there’s few of us can bear to see the ones we love best made to suffer for our sake.”
“But Queen Anne’s dead,” said Anna, “and my father, too. So who is left to do me harm?”
“Your father still has brothers, lass, and they still serve the king. And so do I.” His hand felt heavy on her hair. “Those men who sought your father would be happy to lay hold of any one of us and turn us to their cause, and they’d use any means to do it.”
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140227663X, Paperback)

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object's history and knows that it was named after the Firebird-the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:44 -0400)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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