This is yet another book which I probably would not have read had it not been for reviews on Goodreads and recommendations from several GR friends which prompted me to read another novel by Kearsley, Every Secret Thing. I liked Every Secret Thing enough to want to read more of Kearsley’s work.
This novel has dual time lines. There is a contemporary narrative, told in the first person. The narrator is an author writing a historical novel about a failed Jacobite rebellion which took place in 1708. There is also a third person narrative set in 1708, which is the novel being written by the first person narrator.
The novel has some very attractive features: a beautiful and romantic Scottish setting, evidence of excellent research into the rebellion, clear prose and solid development of character. However, there are some features of the novel which I found less successful, in particular, the concept of genetic memory, which is the device used to link the present-day first person narrative with the third person historical narrative. While some way to link the two narratives was obviously needed, in my view the idea that the present day author was channeling the memories of her ancestor was not convincing.
This is a novel I probably would have liked much more had I been familiar with the history with which it deals, or the location in which it is set. That said, it has certainly made me interested in learning more about the history. It has also put Slains Castle and Cruden Bay firmly on the list of places I’d like to visit in the future. For me, this was slightly less engaging than Every Secret Thing, which makes it a solid 3-1/2 star read.