Such mixed feelings about the mild January. It has been nice to not have as many white knuckle drives as sometime I’ve racked up two and a half weeks into January, or as many mornings where the cold hurts my fingers while I’m trying to get my car cleared, but I know we aren’t supposed to have mild winters here. It’s not what the bottom of the Adirondacks is supposed to be. The lake should be solid by now and it’s far from.
I mean, with the storm resolving in my neck of the woods this morning, it should make it more wintry here again, but with how warm it has been I don’t know how long that will last. If it will stay cold enough to keep the snow and the lake covered in ice. I have already noticed it’s not as dark when I leave work at night. Which I love. Twilight drives home are so preferable to pitch black. And winter twilight is beautiful.
Other than starting to train for a half marathon again and running my clinic for a few weeks, (two weeks down, one to go!) this month will also be marked by my reading historical fiction most, if not all, of the month.
Two more Susanna Kearsley books that have been sitting on my kindle for years to get me through this not as terrible as most Januaries:
The Firebird, Susanna Kearsley
Nicola works for an art dealer and hides her gift of psychometry, the ability to learn about an object via psychic intuition through touching something, from the world. When a sculpture comes into the art dealership she decides to use her gift to prove it is the priceless object its owner believes it to be: A Firebird once gifted from a Russian queen. She employs the help of an old flame that she broke it off with because she wasn’t ready to share her gifts with the world, while he, embracing similar gifts, considers them to be integral to his existence. This is another narrative woven between past and present, and she increases her ability to use and understand her gift while following the story of a young woman orphaned by the Jacobite rebellion. And, of course, there’s romance in there.
I have been enjoying with these books that the supernatural element changes between stories. I don’t mind that they revolve around a certain point in history because the settings change, too. I like that Nicola was learning to accept and align herself with her gift, even though it made her feel like a freak. It was a compelling narrative and the women were strong and independent in all time periods. And the love match in history felt more consensual than it did in Mariana, with characters falling in love on more equal social footing.
This moved along at a better clip than the books of hers I felt were slow, but sometimes the past narrative could get slow and bogged down a bit on details. And it doesn’t necessarily resolve in the way you expect it to, or at least the way I expected, but I won’t spoil it for my readers.
The modern day love interest was a bit too perfect. She isn’t a romance writer, even though her books have romances in them, so it’s not like her heroes have to have flaws. But this guy was like, idealized. There’s no way he’d just be chillin single in real life, unless he was saving himself for her because he psychically knew she was his match and he just had to wait, but even that makes him less realistic. Ha.
A Desperate Fortune
Sara, a woman on the Autism Spectrum is hired to crack a coded diary written by a Jacobite exile three hundred years before.. She is uncovering this woman’s life while at the same time finding love and where she truly belongs in her life.
Now, this one was surprising in that not only was there no supernatural element, but the protagonist has a disability that both helps and hinders her in the course of the story. I did not expect either element, unless Kearsley was thinking that the Asperger’s gives Sara a kind of supernatural power, which I suppose it does, but it isn’t that she is sliding back in time through portals or psychic abilities. The historical narrative is merely a parallel one, where Sara is interacting via code cracking and nothing more remarkable than that. I wonder why no supernatural piece this time? I still felt it was good without that piece to it.
Characters from Kearsley’s other stories make cameo appearances and some characters had roles in history that are still unclear, and Kearsley leaves them unclear. She has similar themes in this one too about a strong, talented , likeable woman who is not raised by her family of origin and has to find her way home.
And of course in the modern narrative there is a sexy and understanding man who is able to connect with Sara, and although he is idealized, Sara’s love for him does help her to grow up a bit during the narrative, do some realistic changing and growing while staying within the bounds of her disorder. Kearsley does her research, that is for sure. It is another point of respect on top of how I can respect her being such a prolific writer as well.
So, this is exciting. As I’m downloading cover images Amazon is telling me that I purchased these books 4 and 6 years ago. I’m feeling the satisfaction of the read down. However, the strain has already started with not getting more books. Next week I will post on the final two Susanna Kearsley books I have, but she has written three more that I do not own. The point of this was to read through the ones I had but then not go and buy or borrow the rest of her work. I’m holding out. I started in on another historical fiction author I have been holding for years. And I have more Alice Hoffmans than I do Susannas that really need my love. Problems!!
On top of that, I have a university book sale catalog sitting on my mail pile next to unread writer’s magazines (I tried last year to read more writing magazines to work on getting my book out there and like all my other magazines they get neglected) and they are like hey we have a seven dollar literature and fiction part. I have stopped opening my BookRiot Deal of the Day emails because torture.
I have thought about making a deal with myself that I can get something for every number I read, but I really want to see my number of unread books drop under 700 and I’m at 792.
However, and just briefly, I am finding that Librivox will help me with some of the public domain stuff I bought forever ago that audio will help me tick off the list. I will still buy or borrow audio companions to books I already have in order to read them faster. But Librivox got my back too.