Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
Simon & Schuster Canada; April 2018
My Rating: 3/5
It was about four years ago that I discovered the force that is Susanna Kearsley, friends. I had recently moved to Texas from Georgia and was very slowly getting back into reading after about 5 years of hardly ever picking a book up. I spent about a year reading predominantly young adult novels and one day heard someone mention historical fiction. As someone who loves history, I needed to investigate and find out more about this genre– so I went onto Pinterest (as I do with most things) and typed in historical fiction authors and one of the top authors I discovered was Susanna Kearsley. I read her novel Mariana and my reading life began to change..
Some houses want to hold their secrets.
It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies held by Britain and France into the conflict.
When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes, it upends the lives of the Wilde family, deeply fractured by war. Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her family, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. Jean-Philippe de Sabran–a French Canadian lieutenant–has little desire to be held there. But by war’s end, they’ll both learn love, honor, and duty can form tangled bonds that aren’t easily broken.
Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and retold through the years until present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island as a curator of the Wilde House Museum. Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she delves into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not tell the whole story..or the whole truth.
I went back and forth deciding whether I wanted to post a review of this book on the blog for the simple fact that there are so many readers who consider SK a romance author, however I discovered her while seeking historical fiction authors to read. Her name is continuously mentioned as a romance writer. When I start reading a novel by Susanna Kearsley, I automatically assume and think that the book is going to be GREAT!
Does anyone else have that “issue”? Do you feel as if your favorite author just can’t write a bad book? That is me, with SK.
This book isn’t bad, it is just very slow. Now, when reading a novel by SK, you can expect it to be slow moving in the beginning. I remember reading The Firebird, which is over 500 pages, thinking “OH MY GOODNESS this is slow”, but then all of a sudden it just started getting good. I was holding out for that moment with this book and sadly, even though it had it’s moments, that “moment,” never really came for me. It was just okay.dd
I liked that SK stepped outside of her norm and this book took place solely in America. To some, I am sure it seems repetitive but I love that she sticks with the storyline of having two women whose stories intertwine in some kind of way but are separated by time. In this story, we get 3 POV’s, Lydia and Jean Philippe in year 1759 and Charley who is our modern day character. I appreciated getting both Lydia and Jean Philippe’s perspective; its like a scene would happen and you got to see from both of their points of views how each of them “saw” it and get their perspective–but I also think in a way this made the book drag out a bit. I don’t think it was necessarily needed the entire time. I liked how in true SK fashion she put a paranormal twist into this book–I think she always finds a way to throw a ghost into her story and it is someone your heart goes out to–you actually don’t mind the ghost being around. The family dynamic in this story was wonderful–both past and present. Lydia’s mother has recently passed away so it is just her father, brothers, and herself. She steps up to the plate and takes care of them. Her Father is doing his best to hold things together–he’s such a kind man. In present day, Charley is the guardian of her niece due to her brother recently passing away. The New England setting was so cozy in this book–and it took place in the fall which just sounded absolutely dreamy.
I was really rooting for this book. It had so much going on that I enjoyed but at the same I got kind of bored with it. I didn’t feel myself getting lost and sucked into the story. I had this feeling of CAN SOMETHING HAPPEN ALREADY. Reading this book for the love story, I was left disappointed. I was over halfway through this book and Lydia and Jean Philippe had barely spoken and most of the time didn’t even acknowledge each other.
Now that I have finished it, I have been pondering on, did I read this book at the wrong time? Maybe spring wasn’t the right for me to consume this book…but when you see that your favorite author is putting out a new book, how can you resist pre-ordering it and starting it right away!? Overall, I think whether I read it now or waited until maybe the fall I still would feel that it was just entirely too slow moving for me. My fingers are crossed and I’ll be hoping everyday that her next novel is better. In the meantime, I think it’s time for a reread of her novels that did leave me spellbound!
I ordered my copy of this book from amazon Canada. It releases in the United States August 7th! Bellewether on Amazon