Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

August 22nd, 2018 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 47 Comments

22nd Aug
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
by Susanna Kearsley
Genres: Historical Fiction, Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Heat Level: One Flame

"The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."
It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page.

historical SUSPENSE well written Standalone

Please welcome Sophia Rose to the blog today as she shares Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley. This is an author whose books are in my TBR pile and I am curious to see what she thinks. Grab an iced coffee and enjoy….


Sophia Rose’s Review

Want some atmosphere and a story focused on an old Colonial Era house out on Long Island that is on the cusp of revealing it’s secrets?  Susanna Kearsley does what she does best and offers a story within a story, a twisting tale full of secrets and love in the past?  And that little bit where the reader catches something in their peripheral view and, for just an instant, believes in ghosts and superstition as reality.

The story opens with history buff, Charley, moving to Long Island and taking a job as curator for the Wilde House Museum that is set to open after restorations are complete.  Charley is burdened by grief because she took this job because of her brother’s death and a need to be there for his nineteen year old daughter and it’s a chance to sort out her own life.  She is content to have a connection with Niels friend, Malaika and to enjoy Sam the contractor for work on the Wilde house.  But, Charley stumbles on a ghost story and a tragic tale of lovers in the past surrounding the old Wilde House.  Is it the Frenchman’s ghost carrying the lantern in the woods at night looking for his lost love or is there more to it?

The past storyline in the late 1650’s is told from dual points of view of both Lydia Wilde and Jean-Philippe de Sabran.  Lydia just lost her fiancé’ to the French in one of the battles during the Seven Years’ War and her brother didn’t come back from that battle normal.  Her hatred is palpable, but her family has two French officer parolees foist upon them even while she is trying to hold her family together after her mother’s death.  Jean-Philippe is captivated by the English beauty, but has a hard path to winning her.  Ominous clouds form around the pair and the reader has the knowledge of the present day story that keeps the advancing tragedy always on the mind.

As usual with her books, I do prefer the past storyline especially since their differing perspectives were so wide of each other at first with the whole enemy nationalities and ideologies thing, but I still loved the present plot as well.  Charley’s story had me not all that disappointed when the focus would shift to the present.  The author has a way of stringing a strong connection through so that past and present rub along nearly seamlessly.  I think the reader is meant to connect with the past story more so because there are two narrators for that bit as opposed to just the one in the present day.  Neither story felt underdeveloped, but, I’m a history buff like Charley, so that will pull me in every time.

The author’s research is meticulous.  I always learn a little more and see the past well through her eyes when I’m getting the descriptions.  It’s not dry and she paints her settings in a colorful palette.  She makes some pointed historical and present day social commentary that all weaves into the story well.  I love the Colonial Era and don’t pick up enough stories set in that time.  Combine it with the atmospheric suspense and romance of the fictional characters the author wrote and I was sublimely happy.

I’ve purposefully kept things vague, but there is a sense of discovery that is the best feeling when reading this one that I don’t want to destroy for future readers.  I will warn that the pacing is gentle and the suspense is far from thriller intense.  The author relies on emotion and character development rather than intense action.  Think old-school romantic suspense.  Those who love romantic suspense with a strong history element should definitely give this book and the author a go.

Want some atmosphere and a story focused on an old Colonial Era house out on Long Island that is on the cusp of revealing it's secrets? Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley offers twists, secrets and love- Sophia Rose Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

47 Responses to “Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley”

  1. MarthaE

    I am always impressed how Kearsley blends a modern tale with a historical romance. I need to read more of her stories.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Sophia Rose

      LOL! I have done that, Anna. Glad to help prod your memory for it. It is a slow starter, but it does eventually get going.

    • Sophia Rose

      Glad to introduce you, Nadene. She does have a bit of a niche writing style with her historical fiction/romantic suspense crossover books. I only discovered her two years ago and still have plenty of her books to read.

  2. Anne

    I’ve seen this a bit lately. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but with the addition of suspense I might like this one. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Anne – Books of My Heart

  3. sjhigbee

    I really enjoy this kind of dual narrative and it sounds a cracking read. Thank you so much for a great review:)

    • Sophia Rose

      It’s not always my thing, but I thought she did a fab job with it in this book. Hope you like it if you get the chance. Thanks, SJ! 🙂

  4. Amy M Ermie

    I read a review earlier this summer that wasn’t overwhelmingly positive, so I am encourage by this one. I have this in my TBR and was so excited for its release. Thanks for the review, though my TBR pile is not feeling very gracious. 🙂

    • Sophia Rose

      After I wrote up my review, I read some of those, too. I could see some of their points while others, it felt like we read a different book. LOL To each their own. Glad I could encourage you to give it a try, Amy. 🙂

      • Amy M Ermie

        Thanks again! Admittedly, I fell in love with the cover before anything else.

        I have to agree with you about the dual narratives, I’m not usually a fan; however, have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? This dual narrative blew me away.

        • Sophia Rose

          I haven’t, but it comes highly recommended so I will read it eventually. Good to know that you loved the narration threads.

  5. Heidi

    I have this book on hold at the library. Looking forward to reading it even more after your review, Sophia. I like the sound of the dual time lines, and I am sure I will enjoy the past more as well. I can’t even think of the last time I read a Colonial Period book.

  6. Lindsi

    I haven’t read anything by this author (yet), but Bellewether caught my attention a few weeks ago. The cover is magical! I’m glad you could tell the author had done their research, because I feel like that makes stories feel more authentic. A slower-paced book might not be perfect for me, but I’m willing to try!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    Lindsi recently posted: My Weekly Pull [34]
    • Sophia Rose

      Her writing style is definitely not action-packed or thriller fast, but there are some definite suspense and mystery with her well researched history. Hope you end up liking it if you get the chance, Lindsi!

  7. ShootingStarsMag

    I’ve never read anything by this author, but I’m so glad to hear you liked it! It’s nice when dual timelines and multiple POV’s all work well too.


    • Sophia Rose

      I love her happy endings because it always looks bleak for the couple until the very last minute. 🙂 Thanks, Ailyn!

  8. kindlemom1

    Yay! I adore this author and just noticed she had a new release out the other day and was hoping it would be fantastic. You have me excited to pick this one up now!

    • Sophia Rose

      I get excited when I see a new release from her, too. I barely waited to read this one after I got approved for the ARC. 🙂

    • Sophia Rose

      It is a gorgeous cover. I definitely want a print copy.

      Yes, I love that she writes the dual timelines and how she brings history to life.

  9. Jenea's Book Obsession

    This is a new one to me and I think it sounds sooo amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.