Beloved New York Times best-selling author Susanna Kearsley delivers a riveting novel that deftly intertwines the tales of two women, divided by centuries and forever changed by a clash of love and fate.
For nearly 300 years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.
Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing - for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.
As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew - about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.
I just finished the novel A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley. Sara Thomas is between jobs (she just quit another one). She is a computer programmer who prefers to work alone (and programmers rarely work alone). Sara has Asperger’s syndrome which she has learned to handle over the years. Her cousin, Jacqui (who is very protective of Sara) has a great job opportunity for Sara where she will able to work by herself. Alistair Scott is an historical writer who needs the diary of Mary Dundas translated. It is written in a cipher. Alistair needs someone to figure out the cipher and then translate the diary. Sara is good with puzzles and ciphers (she was also able to pass Alistair’s test). Sara agrees to take the job (she is looking forward to the challenge). Sara will be staying in France with the owner of the diary while she works on it.
Mary Dundas is a Scotswoman (who comes from a family of Jacobite’s) who has been raised in France with relatives. Her older brother, Nicolas has finally requested that she come live with him. It turns out that Nicolas actually wants Mary to help hide a Jacobite on the run. Mary will pose as his sister to help keep him in hiding (and from getting captured). Mary is in for the journey of a lifetime.
A Desperate Fortune goes back and forth between Sara and Mary. We get to see how Sara works to solve the cipher, translate the diary, and enjoys life in France. Mary is in for a journey she never thought she would experience, but she also worries what will happen to her at the end of this adventure. I enjoyed reading A Desperate Fortune. It is a well written novel. I enjoyed the setting of France, the characters, the interesting information on ciphers (I also enjoy puzzles) and the Jacobite’s. There is some romance (it seems to be prevalent in all books), but, thankfully, it is not the dominant part of the story. The story does get a little tedious (slow going) at times from the history in the novel (it can be hard to keep it all straight and I love history). We also get information on Asperger’s syndrome, how it affects an individual, and the mechanisms they can use to cope. I give A Desperate Fortune 4 out of 5 stars (which means I liked it). I will be reading more works from Susanna Kearsley.
I received a complimentary copy of A Desperate Fortune from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Loved it 15x reread