I can’t remember how I found Susanna Kearsley’s books—probably through Goodreads—but I do remember that once I read the first one, I was hooked. If you love history, the supernatural, gothic romances, and the dramatic landscapes of Scotland, Ireland, and/or nearby locales, buckle up: you are going to love her books. They’re not YA, but I would have devoured these like candy when I was an actual teen. As it is now, the minute I hear she has a new book out, I am ALL OVER IT.
If you like Ross Poldark sexily scything, YOU ARE THE TARGET AUDIENCE.
Kearsley’s books usually follow a pattern (I wouldn’t call it a formula, but she has very distinctive characteristics in all her stories): an intelligent and educated woman, often a bit of a loner, moves to England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland/etc. for job purposes. When she gets there, there’s a historical and supernatural mystery to uncover, which usually involves historical flashbacks. And there is always, always a sexy, wry romantic hero.
They’re not exactly romance novels, because they never delve heavily into sexual situations (which is not to say they’re not sexy—they are!), and they go into far more historical detail than most do. There is, however, usually a heavy romantic element. They’re also not strictly historical fiction, because they take liberties with the supernatural elements. What they are, however, is exactly what I want in a novel: something that lets me escape to a dramatic and atmospheric setting, where smart, practical ladies catch the eyes of hot guys, and the presence of the paranormal makes the world seem bigger and grander, somehow.
Here's why you should read Susanna Kearsley, if you haven’t already:
- Ocean waves crashing against windswept cliffs
- Smart, educated female protagonists with interesting careers
- Castle ruins which may or may not spark memories of past lives
- Historic houses which may or may not spark memories of past lives or “ancestral memory”
- Dreams that hearken back to Arthurian times
- Wicked storms and ghost sightings
- Delicious depictions of the Europe of the past
- Delicious depictions of hot dudes
- Delicious dudes
- Interesting vignettes of European history
- Writers who can afford to go on holiday to gorgeous locales and spend the time writing (and falling in love with aforementioned hot dudes)
Did I convince you yet? If so, let me recommend my personal favorites: The Shadowy Horses, and The Winter Sea. From there, let Goodreads be your guide…and if you happen to live in one of these dramatic locales, and want to let me borrow a room from you while I live out all my Susanna-Kearsley-inspired writerly fantasies, LET ME KNOW.
Are you a Susanna Kearsley fan? Let us know in the comments!