I just finished The Firebird and I love it. It has everything I like: history, mystery, intrigue, historical beginnings. This one is set in St Petersburg and the characters have a part to play in the Jacobite uprising.
Since I loved it so much, I went to check Susanna Kearsley's bio and she says: "I write modern Gothic novels that blend historical adventure and modern-day suspense with romance and a touch of something spooky, so they don't fit neatly into any category, really… But they're fun to write."
I can vouch for the fact that they are also fun to read.
In this book, the modern day suspense comes into play when an art dealer sets out to prove provenance of a small wooden carving believed to have come from the hands of Empress Catherine I. The "something spooky" occurs when Nicola takes the carving in hand and "sees" Catherine I handing the carving to a woman named Anna. This is the tale of the journey Nicole takes to learn the history of the carving of the firebird, and along the way she finds herself.
That paragraph up there sounds so dull and mundane. The book is nothing like that. The characters are real, the setting feels right, and the writing! I love the writing, it is so rhythmic and lilting without being fake or pompous. The story flows, in fact both stories: the modern one as we follow Nicole and Rob from London to Scotland to Belgium to St. Petersburg, and the story of Anna and her part in Scottish history. I was equally invested in both stories, and the author made the switchbacks seem effortless and natural as she brought each storyline to a satisfying conclusion.
Now I am off to find all the books Susanna Kearsley has written to date to add them to my bookshelf.