Sunday, March 2, 2014

THE FIREBIRD by Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley

            The Winter Sea has been my longtime favorite book written by Susanna Kearsley. Each time I finish the book, however, I yearn for more. Kearsley has delivered more with The Firebird. Although the book stands alone – and stars one of her characters from a different book – we follow, or learn more about, many of the characters from The Winter Sea.

            In The Firebird, as in many of Kearsley’s novels, we learn of the history through a present day person. Nicola Marter, like her friend Rob McMorran (Robbie from one of Kearsley’s previous novels), has parapsychological abilities. Nicola works in a gallery, and is scheduled to travel to Russia for gallery business. When her boss declined to buy a wooden firebird from a seller, because there was no proof demonstrating that it had been given to the seller’s family by Empress Catherine, Nicola decided to try to find the provenance for the firebird during her upcoming trip.

             A firebird, Nicola explains to Rob, is “’a bird out of folklore, with bright glowing feathers, like flame. One feather would light a whole room, and it’s said that whenever a firebird’s feather falls, then a new art will spring up in that place.’” (p. 65). The firebird, according to Nicola, can be found in several old Russian fairy tales.

            Nicola and Rob trace the firebird’s history through Anna, one of Kearsley’s characters from The Winter Sea. By using their psychic abilities, they are able to follow the provenance for the firebird, while we learn more about the history of the Jacobites, as well as about characters from The Winter Sea and some new characters. Unsurprisingly, there are striking parallels between Anna’s history and Nicola and Rob’s modern day.

            I loved every minute of being reunited with the many friends from The Winter Sea who also appear in The Firebird. But now, I cannot determine which of Kearsley’s books is my favorite; for the moment, I believe it’s a dead heat between The Winter Sea and The Firebird.


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