The FirebirdBook - 2013
Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images, glimpses of those who have owned it before. It's never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London's premier dealers in Russian art.
But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia's Empress Catherine, it's a problem. There's no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving--known as "The Firebird"--is worthless. But Nicola has held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.
Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her "see" the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia. There, in St. Petersburg--the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great's Russia--Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption . . . an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.
From Library Staff
PoMoLibrary Jun 17, 2014
If you like your historical novels with a slight tinge of paranormal, search no longer. Susanna Kearsley is here for you. Nicola works for an art dealer who is unaware of her hidden gift: Whenever she touches an item, she has a vision of the history of the owner. When a desperate woman brings a c... Read More »
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
" ’Tis by their words that men betray themselves, and often by the smallest of their actions, which ye’ll rarely see unless ye hold your tongue and use your eyes instead. Ye’ll learn more of a man if ye look at his face when he’s looking at somebody else, than ye’ll learn any other way, but ye have to keep silent to do it."-Captain Jamieson(advising a young Anna)
“See now, nothing that we do in life is easy. Your pawn will capture mine in his next move, and yet that move will leave ye open to attack then from my bishop three moves hence. Each choice we make has an effect for good or ill, for all we may not yet perceive it at the time.”-Colonel Graeme(teaches young Anna more than a game of chess)
“So you would not let him bear that shame, yet you yourself would shoulder it? You need not always stand and take a whipping you do not deserve.”-Anna(speaking to Edmund)
“I’m not good with fragile things. I’m careless, and I break them, and I lose them, but I…I’d take care of you.”-Edmund(speaking to Anna)
the city had survived, as it had always done: endured the changes of its name and government, stood fast through war and siege and revolution, and through all of that had managed still to shelter and encourage art and dance and life and beauty.
It was what my mother always told my brother and myself that she missed most of all about St. Petersburg – the beauty that lay everywhere, in unexpected places, if you only had the eyes to see it.
“Never let him fool you into thinking that he’s calm, it’s all an act. . . . it isnae in his nature to sit still, he’s only taught himself the trick of it.”
It surprised me that I hadn’t noticed him earlier. I usually didn’t miss noticing good-looking men. And on top of it all, he’d been reading a book, and a man doing that didn’t often escape my attention.
Men, so Anna had observed, replied to threats in one of two ways, much like bears. They either dropped and turned and scuttled off, or else they stood their ground and bellowed back and tried to make themselves look larger.
If we cannae be what we were born to be, the whole of it, we die a little on the inside, every day we live the lie.
SummaryAdd a Summary
Nicola Marter has the gift of psychometry-the ability to touch an object and discover information about its previous owners. Her grandfather's adamant instructions to never reveal her abilities, coupled with the negative reactions from those who do not understand her, has Nicola eager to keep her talent a secret. Margaret Ross appears at Nicola's artifacts and art gallery with a small carving of a bird, called the Firebird, and claims the item was given to her ancestor, Anna, by Peter the Great's wife, the Empress Catherine of Russia. Once Nicola holds the Firebird, she sees a vision of Anna with the Empress and realizes the carving could bring Margaret, who is in dire need of money, a fortune. Determined to help Margaret and prove the authenticity of the Firebird, Nicola enlists the help of Rob, who also has the same psychic abilities as Nicola's, only stronger. Following Anna's path, Nicole and Rob find themselves crossing Scotland, Belgium, and Russia, taking the reader on a journey spanning the Jacobite Rising of 1715 and its aftermath.
Are you looking for an excuse to curl up somewhere with a mug of hot chocolate and do nothing for a few hours? Of course you are! It’s awful weather. Plus, snuggling in with a good book beats getting bodychecked by someone else who desperately needs Santa to bring a Tickle-Me-Cabbage-Bratz-Kid or whatever. Hey, your friendly librarian is here to help.
At least, I’m here to help if a long, charming ramble through Scotland and Russia with a smoldering Scotsman sounds appealing. If not, you can probably get off this boat here.
Still here? Grand! Grab your cocoa.
By day, Nicola Marter works in an arts museum in London, England. By night, however, Nicola struggles with a rare gift that lets her divine the provenance of the rare items she curates simply by touching them. Her grandfather had been viciously prosecuted in Russia for his gifts, so Nicola faces strong family pressure to suppress her second sight and live a more normal life.
However, a chance encounter with a destitute woman forces Nicola to reconsider her gifts and their role in her life. Before Nicola really thinks about it, she goes to Scotland in search of Rob, whose own keen gifts could help her find the proof she needs that this woman’s family holds a rare artefact, given to them by Empress Catherine of Russia. Rob, naturally, would be our smoldering Scotsman – one with whom Nicola had an intense connection in university, and with whom she has unfinished business.
The two depart on a whirlwind tour of the Scottish coast and St Petersburg, hot on the trail of the firebird artefact. As with any Susanna Kearsley novel, there’s plenty of steamy tension rendered so carefully that you can share this book with your mother without blushing. I’ve recommended other Kearsley books in this space as readalikes for fans of Diana Gabaldon’s *Outlander* series - the sexual tension, historical research, and time travel elements make Kearsley’s books a perfect match for any Sassenachs looking for a great next read. *The Firebird* is no exception. This book is highly recommended as a shopping procrastination tool, or as an excuse to get out of anything else you’d like to avoid this holiday season.
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