**Thank you so very much to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC copy of this novel.**
I can finally award Ms. Kearsley another 5-star rating for a novel! Perhaps you don’t realize how excited I am over this prospect. Quick background: I first read Ms. Kearsley’s THE WINTER SEA last month and absolutely loved it. After that, I just as quickly devoured three more of her novels — THE ROSE GARDEN, MARIANA, and THE FIREBIRD — but none of them grabbed me the way that first novel had and, so, I awarded them all betwee 3-to-4-star ratings out of 5. Nevertheless, when I heard that Ms. Kearsley was to release a new novel, I was ecstatic: her ability to blend fact and fiction while crafting enjoyable characters (usually) within a quasi-magical realism twist is something that I very greatly enjoy.
Guys, I think I liked this book from the get-go and for good reason: Sara Thomas, our modern-day heroine, is probably Ms. Kearsley’s best. A young woman on the spectrum — she suffers from Asperger Syndrome (AS) — Sara is hired for a small little cryptoanalysis job in the form of breaking and translating the diary of a young Jacobite exile, Mary Dundas. From here, we have many of the staples of Ms. Kearsley’s previous novels: shifting time periods, parallel (or contrasting) romances, international locations, and journeys of self-discovery. Fans of her previous novels will not be disappointed in this latest release.
I was swept away into the world of this novel, and while I’ll admit that I sometimes found Ms. Dundas’ portions a little slow to follow, I nevertheless felt equally compelled by both heroines. THAT is what I missed from the novels I read post-THE WINTER SEA: equal compulsion. But I got it here, and I can’t wait for everyone else to read it as well.