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Thursday, August 30, 2012


I had  been looking forward for months to get my hands on any of Ms Kearsley's books and this was the first one I could get to.

The story starts in a manner that you the reader knows that there is definitely much more to this than meets the eye. A house is at the bottom of it and Julia and the house are inextricably linked. The first stop by the house was when Julia was just five years old but even at that age she knows she has some kind of bond with the house. Repeat this twice more and you know you are getting somewhere.  You do know you are going to come back to this house as it is fate that Julia has to have this house.  Proceed a couple of pages and Julia does buy this house and comes down to live in this idyllic village and settle down to her profession as a children's book illustrator.

Once resident, Julia has flashbacks to 300 years ago to a girl called Mariana who lived in the house. Trying to find out more and more she is drawn back more into the past than the present to the point where those who do know what is happening are frightened for her safety. The past was violent and eventful and her brother Tom is nervous as to what she may have to face physically and mentally because each episode of her flashbacks seem to be taking more and more out of his vibrant sister.

I liked the feeling of not just going back in time but the very real link in this story to reincarnation. Not a topic dealt with very much in fiction -something very real in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy and a subject which is quite commonplace in Sri Lanka.

Everything about this book was good. The descriptiveness of the serenity of this countryside village made me want to uproot myself and go there, the dialect of 300 years ago, the historical content of times past, and very importantly the relationships that Mariana had with everyone around her not just her lover was just beautiful.

Telling you more would be spoilers but this is a must read. You have to get your hands on this amazing story. I loved the fact that I read it in large print so was able to read till 2 am and finish the book.


  1. I've read The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden - loved them both! Looks like I need to add Mariana to my TBR list :-)

  2. Glad to see this "haunting" was a pleasant experience.

  3. Sounds like one I should read sooner than later. Nice review.

  4. Definitively on 'The' list Mystica! Time travel is certain to attract anyone's interest!
    Autumn is in the air. How about in Sri Lanka?

  5. I have heard this one is great, and can't believe I forgot about it. I had checked it out from the library and ran out of time to read it. I'll have to check my wish list and make sure it's on there.

  6. So glad you enjoyed this novel as it's one of my all-time favourites. Have you read any of Kearsley's other books? My absolute favourite is The Shadowy Horses, although Mariana does come a close second :-)