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Not the best from this author
on 26 May 2013
This story follows best-selling author Carrie McLelland as she writes a novel set around the failed 1708 Jacobite rebellion. Her heroine, Sophia, is her own ancestor and Carrie begins to develop an uncanny ability to guess what is happening in Sophia's life.
I bought this book because I read another Susannah Kearsley work, Mariana, and loved it, so I wanted to see what else this author had on offer, but I was left feeling a little disappointed with this book. I found it very hard to get into, Sophia's early parts were dry, not at all interesting and very tedious; if I were reading the novel Carrie was writing, I wouldn't have got past the first few pages. I didn't really find the idea of genetic memories very plausible and the way Carrie discovered that detail after detail was exactly correct was sort of stretching it for me and got a bit boring after a while. The first few were an interesting quirk, but when she goes through, not just the same process, but the same thoughts and feelings about it, I found it too repetitive to be interesting.
My other major qualm about this book and probably the main reason I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have is that it is very similar to Mariana, not just the plot and the situations the characters go through (they're both written about the same sort of back-in-time theme), but the fact that scenes seemed to have been borrowed from that book. For example, both have a scene where a supporting character tells the heroine why she might be experiencing these memories/flashbacks. In this it's Dr Weir, in Mariana it's Julia's brother. Both books had similar dialogue characteristics and the heroes names are very similar. It really did leave me feeling that these are just variations on the same book and wondering whether Susannah Kearsley is a bit of a one-trick pony.
That said, once I got into the book, I found myself enjoying it more and becoming more and more interested in Sophia's story, but I couldn't help myself comparing this book with Mariana and, perhaps because I read the other first, I did find this book lacking. It's a sound read and I would recommend it for a light holiday read, perhaps, but it didn't have the same impact that Mariana did.