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The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

The Firebird (2013)

by Susanna Kearsley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Slains (2)

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7164820,077 (3.93)43
Recently added byrena75, ballycumber, MisBklover
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    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (LAKobow)
    LAKobow: Also involves elements of realism mixed with fantasy, Scotland, romance, and historical fiction.

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» See also 43 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
This is the successor to The Winter Seas though you need not have read that story to understand this one (though you should read it - it's a great book). Young Anna Moray was placed in a cottager's home in Slains for her safety when just a small child. Her great-uncle brings her to Ypres hoping to keep her from being a hostage by the adherents of King George - her family are Jacobites. Through some misadventures, she ends up in St. Petersburg at the court of Peter the Great and his Tsarina Catherine.
As with other of Ms. Kearsley's books, there is a dual modern story alternating with the historical one. Nicola is an art authenticator with the gift of psychometry; she can touch an object and see the past. She hides the gift, and in fact, it's the reason she broke up with Rob whose gift is much stronger. Together they try to find a way to authenticate a small wooden carving of a bird passed down in a woman's family supposedly by Anna and given to her by Tsarina Catherine.
This story started a little slow for me but soon picked up. I admit I was more interested in the historical story of Anna, but I also enjoyed the modern descriptions of St. Petersburg as Nicola and Rob try to trace Anna's steps. Ms. Kearsley writes lovely historical fiction, and I enjoy all her books. This one is a worthy successor to The Winter Seas. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Jan 15, 2019 |
I was curious as to how this connects to The Winter Sea, so I looked at the opening chapters online. I wasn't planning on reading the whole book straight away -- but I became hooked.

Nicola works in art gallery. A woman brings in a carving she believes was given to her ancestor, Anna, by Catherine I of Russia. There’s no evidence to support this… but Nicola has an unusual ability which gives her glimpses of an object’s past when she touches it. She decides to take advantage of an upcoming work trip to Russia to do further research.

Nicola enlists the help of an old boyfriend -- a minor character from The Shadowy Horses, now all grown up. (I was rather delighted to see him again.) I said I wanted more ambiguity regarding the fantasy element in The Winter Sea, but I had no issue with it being front-and-centre here. I actually find it easier to suspend disbelief when these things are firmly established, and as a reader of fantasy, I’m interested in characters actively making use of their supernatural abilities. Bonus points for telepathy!

Meanwhile, the historical storyline, features several characters from The Winter Sea, most notably Sophia’s daughter Anna, following her from her childhood in Scotland to her time in Russia. As a sequel to The Winter Sea, Anna’s story is unexpectedly satisfying.

My only disappointment -- yes, I do have one -- is that the very interesting conflict of Nicola and Rob having different attitudes towards their supernatural abilities is pushed aside to focus on Anna and then it’s resolved too readily.

“Both those stories are alike, though, really.”
“How is that?”
“The firebird drops a feather,” was his summary, “and if you’re fool enough to pick it up and chase the bird itself, you’re in for trouble.”
“And adventure.”
“Aye.” He nodded. “True enough. But what you bring back with you in the end,” he said, “might not be what you started out in search of to begin with.”
( )
  Herenya | Dec 2, 2018 |
This book is ok. I liked reading some of the history in it and reading the section at the end about which characters were real. However, this book throws in a double romance, so be careful if you are not into that kind of thing. ( )
  shelbycassie | Aug 5, 2018 |
3.75 stars

Nicola is able to “see” things when she touches them. When her work takes her to Russia to buy some art, she has a second mission in mind. A woman had recently come in wanting to sell a piece of art that she insisted came through her family’s generations, originally gifted from Peter the Great’s wife, Catherine. But there is no proof. Nicola is hoping to find some proof while she’s in St. Petersburg, along with her friend, Rob, who has the same “gift” of sight, but is better at it than Nicola is.

I preferred the modern day storyline to the historical one in this one. I’ve been to St. Petersburg and loved “visiting” some of the places again: Church of the Saviour on the Spilt Blood and, in particular, the Hermitage… but also, one of a chain of restaurants our tour group visited, Stolle, was mentioned in the book: “a small chain with several locations strung all through the city, and served what one might call traditional Russian ‘fast food’: homemade pie.” Yum! Good memories!

Anyway, I was surprised to find that many of the historical characters in this one were real – thanks to an author’s note at the end, which I always like to see in my historical fiction! In fact, it was quite a detailed note. I guess this is the second book in a “series” (loosely-based, I think), where one of the (historical) characters in the first book reappears in this one (I haven’t read that one). I recognized one of the contemporary characters from another book by this author that I’ve read, though, so that’s always fun. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jun 28, 2018 |
first off, I loved being with these characters again and the story telling is superb.. but the physic flashback thing didn't work for me. seemed forced and too lazy/convenient as a way for the author to tell of the past. I liked it better in the first book with the character living in the present acting as a muse. ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (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.

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Kearsleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

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