Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: The Firebird

The Firebird
By Susanna Kearsley
Published: June 4, 2013

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images; glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.

But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving—known as “The Firebird”—is worthless. But Nicola’s held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth, and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.

Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left, and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia. There, in St. Petersburg—the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia—Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption…an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.

My review:

The Firebird is a companion novel to two of my favorite of Susanna Kearsley's books: The Winter Sea and The Shadowy Horses. While you don't have to read either book to understand The Firebird, I recommend reading The Winter Sea first because of some spoilers in The Firebird (plus it is my favorite of Susanna Kearsley's books).

Usually I prefer the historical story over the contemporary but while I liked Anna's story while she was young, I found that it wasn't as compelling as she grew up and became a young woman in Russia. The setting was interesting and I expected more details about Russian life but the focus was on the lives of Scottish people living in Russia instead. I admired Anna's fortitude as a girl who is constantly searching for home and always having it yanked away from her for safety reasons. She was a spunky girl but unfortunately I found her to be a little bland when she grew up. She kind of reminded me of Cosette from Les Miserables. I still liked her but I think I missed some of the excitement that had been part of her story when she was on the run.

I think one of the most enjoyable parts of this book was the growing romance between Rob and Nicola. They had a past history together that Nicola fled because of her fears about their psychic abilities and the way outsiders would view it. As she and Rob follow the story of Anna, Nicola gains the strength to overcome those fears and accept who she is and what she and Rob could have together.

I enjoy time-slip novels and I liked how Nicola and Rob could see the past unfold before them in the present. While it would be a trial I think if you always had to worry when you touched an object that you'd see things you didn't want to see, I think it would be neat at the same time to see some history right in front of you. Although Anna's character wasn't as exciting when she grew older, I did like reading about the experiences of the Jacobites living abroad in Russia and learning about Russian customs of that time.

Overall I thought this was another satisfying romance by Susanna Kearsley. If you've never tried her books, I suggest you start with The Winter Sea and then make your way to this one.

Note: I received an e-ARC of this book for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley


  1. I'm on the hold list for THE WINTER SEA at my library, and you've made me even more excited for it. It sounds like that book is fabulous, and this story sounds very good too :)

    Great review!

  2. If I do decide to check out this author, I will make sure to start with The Winter Sea per your suggestion but I don't know if I'm dying to read these books. (I just got On Sal Mal Lane and can't wait to dive in!)

  3. I so want to read THE WINTER SEA! I can't wait till I get my hands on it now!
    Great review!


  4. Nice review, I really enjoyed The Shadowy Horses but like you suggested I'll be reading The Winter Sea before picking this one up.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!