Title/Author: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, April 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository
Goodreads summary: For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.
It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.
When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.
As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home.
I read and adored Susanna Kearsley's The Rose Garden a couple of years ago, it was SO amazing. And since I have pretty much been eyeing all her other books, but never found the time to actually read one. Until now. And it was awesome.
I love how Susanna Kearsley takes an unknown, normal woman in history and weaves a story around her. It makes my heart very happy. And in A Desperate Fortune, I loved both the story set in the present and the one in the past.
Mary Dundas has been left behind by her father as a child, and was taken in by her aunt and uncle. Who, while being good guardians, are not her own parents and she misses her father and brothers. But Mary's personality has not suffered because of it, she's strong and determined and works through whatever gets in her way. And also, I love how she cares for her little dog. I mean, she took him in when he was left behind by his 'family' and I can totally get how she relates to this. She's smart and I loved her storytelling abilities, she's pretty amazing.
Sara Thomas also totally stole my heart. She's been diagnosed with Asperger's and while she's not always the most socially adept person, she manages very well and I just loved her. Someone told her that she's not capable of being in a relationship and it's hurtful and I totally adored how the man in her life gets her to give him a chance by using logic. When she tells him it won't work because her other relationships didn't work, he reasons that in those other relationship the man wasn't him and therefore it may work this time. I loved how he's really in this and is actively chasing this woman that is wonderful and intelligent and has a lot of heart. And I loved that with the right person, it doesn't have to be a struggle to be in a relationship for Sara, she doesn't have to prove herself or be anyone other than herself.
And I also totally adored her bonding with the little boy, who was pretty darn cute himself.
So basically, there are also two lovestories and I loved both of them! There's the strong, protective man in Mary's story that I just wanted to hug and yell at him to tell her how much he cares about her. And to Mary herself as well! OMG, these two communicate in the end and I get how it wasn't normal in that time period to talk about your feelings for each other, but WOW I just wanted them to get together and KISS ALREADY. It was pretty sweet seeing them fall for each other.
I loved disovering along with Sara what happened to Mary and I'm glad we got more details than Sara did from the diary. I wouldn't have survived not knowing what happened to Mary and Hugh and the little dog. But mostly I just loved Susanna Kearsley's amazing writing that totally sucked me in and made me want to keep reading and then after finishing it, hug my e-reader to my chest and breathe a happy sigh.
This book was amazing. Go read it.
My rating: 5 stars