Anybody that knows me knows I'm obsessed with the UK. England has been a huge piece of my heart for a long time and reading Mariana has, yet again, inspired the wanderlust in me to go back to England. Why? Because the heroine in this story finds herself being drawn to the country town of Wiltshire, more specifically she's drawn to a house that coincidence or fate has made to cross her path on more than one occasion. The first time she saw the house she could feel it was hers. From there we get our story.
|Mariana and Hever, England|
Susanna Kearsley has very quickly become a go-to favorite author. Her books always speak to me on a deep level and they give me that feeling that I look for every time I open a book. That feeling being transportation. The places she writes about make me want to go there instantly. There has always been something seductive to me about small English towns. The open fields, the small dirt roads, the stone walls outlining properties, the pubs! Everything about it has felt like a home away from home to me. This book gives me exactly that. Kearsley is perfection as writing a place that makes me feel like I'm there and this book seemed to go above and beyond.
The town of Wiltshire and Julia's--our heroine's--house Greywethers is brought to life. I loved that I could see the old but beautiful house in my head, the small town, the pub, the manor house. All of it! I wanted to book a plane ticket immediately and spend a week--or forever--in the country. Seriously, I will do this for a future vacation. Just country town hop for a few weeks. I'll love every second of it. I just cannot get over how entranced I was by this book and it's setting. It was brilliant in its execution and I feel like I have been to this town myself. I am still thinking about this book days later and my fingers are actually itching to book a plane ticket to go rent a cottage or country house to stay in. Obviously this is why I chose this book for From Page to Plane today but I really can't say it enough how magical this book was.
As with all her other books, the present and past stories both captures my attention greatly. I loved reading about Julia fixing up her old house, her job as an illustrator, and making new friends with the locals, Vivien the local pub owner, Iain the resident farmer and green hand, and Geoff the owner and lord of the manor. While Julia is settling in she finds herself in unfamiliar territory...that being sometime in the 17th century. Julia finds herself becoming Mariana, and young girl at Greywethers in the 1600s, and living out parts of her life in the past.
Julia thinks she's going insane but she's got a few unlikely and surprising allies who help her a little bit along the way. Julia can feel that there's something foreboding about Mariana's life and knows that she's being sent back as a previous self for a reason, she just has to figure out that reason. This was fascinating to me. I love that a few of Kearsley's books incorporate past lives or ancestor memories. This is something I was recently talking about with a friend and would love to explore but that's another story. I totally can believe in ancestor memories or something of the like. For me, it would explain why we have certain fears over others for no known reason. Maybe a past ancestor fell off a cliff or drowned or something of the like, I don't know but it makes a lot of sense to me.
Adding to that, I love the experience of reading about a modern day woman time traveling to the past. Not gonna lie, it's a long-standing dream of mine to travel to the past. I've always felt a connection to history so as a rule, I just love reading about stories like this and Mariana is one of the best. See Mariana is falling in love with the Richard, lord of the manor at the time, and their relationship is so damn romantic and swoony! I was sobbing at the end with how much I was feeling! The story is so, so, so, so good! Indescribable because you just have to experience this story and this place. It's visceral.
With her travels to the past becoming more urgent and erratic, Julia tries to connect past to present and if the people she's meeting in the past are also the people around her. It's SO FANTASTIC how the book ends! The reveals are amazing and it was just was I was rooting for the entire time but didn't see how it would get there. I immediately wanted to re-read it and I rarely say that! Seriously, if you love historical fiction and romance, you have to read this book and get to know this author!
The soul sees what truly matters"
--Susanna Kearsley, Mariana