Nicola Marter has created quite a life for herself, working in a Russian art gallery in London and working very hard to appear, and be, as normal as possible. But Nicola is hiding a secret: when she touches an object she can catch glimpses into the lives of the people who touched it before. Growing up with her grandfather vehemently telling her she must hide this gift – one he shared – at all costs and being devastated by the ridicule and scorn of those that didn’t understand, she decided two years previously to completely leave behind that part of herself and the people who had worked with her to hone that gift, including Rob McMorran, a man she was dating and who also had psychic abilities of his own.
When a lonely and desperate woman comes into the gallery to try and sell a small carving of a Firebird, one she claims was given to her descendant by Empress Catherine of Russia, Nicola touches the carving and sees instantly that she’s telling the truth. But when the woman cannot produce any evidence to prove her story, Nicola knows she must do whatever she can to help the woman prove her claim. And she’s going to need to use her powers, and those of Rob, the man she has tried unsuccessfully to forget, to make that happen.
Weaving back and forth between time and place, Nicola and Rob’s story is interspersed with that of Anna Moray, the woman who received the Firebird carving from the Empress. As Nicola and Rob continue to track Anna in the hopes of finding some way to prove her connection to the Empress Catherine, Rob patiently yet adamantly pushes Nicola to use her gifts and accept and be happy with the woman she really is, one he clearly cares for. And as they continue to track Anna from Scotland to Russia they see her grow from a brave small girl who must be hidden away from her own family for safety into a strong, determined young woman who would do anything for what she believes to be right and to protect those she loves. Both these women must learn that, to be truly happy, they will need to not only accept themselves completely for who they really are but will need to put down their defenses and open up their hearts to let true love in.
The Firebird is the second book by Susanna Kearsley I have read and, if it is even possible, I loved this book more than the last. Her ability to effortlessly go back and forth between timelines and to describe the settings, whether historic or modern, so that the reader is right there along for the joyride is just amazing. Her characters are so real and raw that you can almost imagine that you have a little bit of Nicola’s gift and are actually seeing them through the pages. It takes quite a lot of skill to have a reader turn the last page of an over 500 page book and only wish that there were 500 more pages to go, and that is exactly how I felt when I finished The Firebird.
Any reader not familiar with the history behind Empress Catherine or the Jacobite movement that is predominant in Anna’s story need not worry because Ms. Kearsley does an exceptional job of bringing the reader up to snuff on the history in an easily understandable way throughout the story as well as in the highly informative “About the Characters” section at the back of the book. I can’t find a reason why anyone would not enjoy this book, as long as they are prepared to put everything else aside to read it as they won’t want to put it down and do anything else once they start.
Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks Landmark. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.