Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird - the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.
Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna who leads her into the past on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.
©2013 Susanna Kearsley (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Much like with Kearsley's The Winter Sea, the focus of this book is the Jacobite history and the characters' development in the middle of it. The history is actually explained without massive info dumps, with a clarity that helps the understudied reader along. The rest falls into Kearsley's talent for writing fully-formed characters with great amounts of realism and charm, and it's because you latch on to them so readily that you care what happens as history happens around them. But then, I'm preaching to the choir on a site full of bookworms, am I not? Suffice to say, there is a lot of heart in this story, and that brings the history to life without hitting you over the head with it. It's natural and easy. For me, that's what historical fiction is all about, even when the gimmick to make it work requires some suspension of disbelief, as I'd wager it will on the part of most. Still, it's a conceit that, if you just go with it, it's written well enough to help you buy it.
I am once again impressed by Katherine Kellgren's performance. Her willingness to distinguish all of the characters' voices, accents, and attitudes is praiseworthy, and that she has the vocal dexterity to pull it all off so seamlessly is a large part of what helps the audiobook work. Never underestimate the subtle nuances a performance like hers can add to a story's verisimilitude.
I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.
My experience with this book is that if I were British or Scottish, I probably would have understood this book better... so this book might be a better book for reading in print. It also would have benefited from a male reader in addition to Ms. Kellgren. Every male voice sounded the same and every female voice sounded the same except for a small part of an American woman. I don't think I would seek out another read by Kellgren, but the story kept my attention....but the directing and production left much to be desired....my book even skipped in quite a few places, especially on the 3rd part, but the story was so convoluted, it did not much matter. I enjoyed the 3 main characters, but many of the background players were just so much noise. If I were to read Susanna Kearlsey again, I would do so in print, especially if it is set in Ireland/England/Russia again.
Overall, an enjoyable story, but one that didn't make much of an impact on me. I doubt I would ever give it a second thought.
The reader did a wonderful job with all the different charters, you could almost believe there were many different voices. Throughly enjoyed from start to finish.
Say something about yourself!
I actually think the story of Ana (the flashbacks) would've been fine without all of the modern stuff.
I liked this book. I liked it almost as much as the prequel The Winter Sea. The historical sites and events really added depth to the storyline.
I enjoyed the book “The Firebird” by Susanna Kearsley as an audible book narrated by Katherine Kellgren. I adore Susanna Kearsley's writing style of dual time lines and a touch of the paranormal. This book was great entertainment.
Katherine Kellgren is an amazing performer. I couldn’t believe how this narrator was able to portray each character’s voice in such a unique way that it was better listening to this book that going to any movie! I hope to find more audiobooks narrated by her.
The main character in the modern time-line is Nicola who has the unusual gift of being able to touch an object and see the history surrounding that object. She struggles with this psychicl gift and doesn’t want anyone in her life to know. When a client comes into her workplace - an art dealer business - with a wooden carved “firebird”, Nicola touches the object and gets a flash of history that she ultimately must pursue for the sake of the object’s owner. To get help with using her gift, she travels to Scotland to meet with Rob – the man she walked away from two years before. Rob has and extraordinary psychic gift that he doesn’t hide from anyone. The two work together to find the history of the “firebird” carving.
Their travels back in time introduce us to Anna, who (in my opinion) is the star of this book. Anna is growing up during the time of the Jacobite struggle in Scotland. The circumstances of her birth ultimately bring her to Russia and Empress Catherine the first. The story is rich in historical details and creates the perfect back drop to Anna’s story.
I really didn’t want this book to end. The characters were so engaging and the story was filled with twists and turns that left me guessing up until the very end!
Sadly, this one did not engage me and I was somewhat disappointed. I suppose it's because the main character merely observes rather than engages in the history. There just wasn't enough in this book to live up to her others.
I loved the narrator. She had so many accents to deal with and the story moved from various time periods and she made it easy and pleasurable to follow.
An enjoyable listen!!
captivating, sweet, romantic
Rob, who I met as a child in an earlier book and who has become as superb an adult as can be
Her bright tone and the amazing facility with voices
All of them
I have enjoyed Susanna Kearsley books but this one was by far her best. Surprised to the very end. The narrator was excellent in addition to the story.
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