Rated Reads

The Firebird

by Susanna Kearsley

Rated: Mild

Nicola has a gift — when she touches things, she can see their histories. But she tries to hide her gift and would much rather be “normal,” so she doesn’t use it very much. She works in an art gallery, acquiring and selling special pieces. One day she happens to pick up a little wooden bird and is hit with a bit of its history, and she feels compelled to find out more. Her search takes her back to an old boyfriend, Rob, who has a similar gift, but one he uses all the time and is well known to everyone in his little Scottish village. The two end up embarking on a journey to find out the full story of the firebird and help its owner to authenticate its provenance.

Nicola and Rob end up in Scotland, Ireland, and Russia, learning about Anna, the young woman to whom Russia’s first Empress Catherine gave the carving. Readers find out about Anna’s life just as Nicola and Rob do, immersed in the past. Meanwhile, we see Nicola struggle against her gift while admiring Rob’s amazing talents and Rob himself.

The Firebird is a wonderful historical novel that weaves two stories together, past and present, and explores the beauty and occasional heartbreak of romantic and familial love. The end, which pulled everything together after an involved 500-plus pages, was so completely satisfying that I didn’t want to close the book. Even better, the book is another clean one from Susanna Kearsley. Extra bonus is that readers get to spend more time with Rob, who was featured prominently as a boy with “second sight” in The Shadowy Horses.

Rated: Mild, for a few uses of very mild language and one sex scene that’s completely “off-screen.”

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

2 Responses to The Firebird

  1. […] I just finished reading The Firebird, Susanna Kearsley’s latest novel. This being the second book of hers I’ve read (after […]

  2. […] The Firebird, by Susanna Kearsley. I ran across the gothic-y The Shadowy Horses on my library’s e-book website and gave it a try. Definitely enjoyed it. Then when I saw this new book would be following one character from that book later in life, I felt I must read it as well. After being caught up in the two parallel stories in this newest book for a very enjoyable 500 pages or so, I wished there was more. Luckily, Kearsley has plenty of other books for me to enjoy in the same genre, and I got extra-lucky a few days ago to get some e-copies for a special $1.99 on Amazon. Life is good. If you like clean gothic tales, Kearsley is a must-read. And read a bit more about her and other fave authors on this post. […]

  • The Firebird
  • by Susanna Kearsley
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: