A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley - Sarah's Review

For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home.


AMAZING. I truly don't know where to begin! I guess I'll start by saying that while I have not read every book by Ms. Kearsley, I've read a few and have always loved them..my favorite being The Rose Garden. This one however, touched my heart and soul and left me wanting to start the whole thing all over again! I got sooo attached to these characters and am sad it had to end, but it will absolutely be re-read!
The way she combines the past and present, the way her characters grow and have depth, the scenery, the HISTORY, the ROMANCE, it just all blew me away in this one. She truly puts so much effort into researching, and writes in such a way that you never get bored. And creating a character that had Asperger's syndrome was also very interesting to learn about since I didn't know much about that beforehand. To me, it only made the character more interesting and relatable. The beginning may have started out slow when compared to the rest of the book, but it didn't even matter because the solid, intriguing, suspenseful plot all made up for it. Everything came together so well and the two stories of Sara and Mary weaved together brilliantly. So, if by some chance you are worried about having two separate stories being told (one past, one present) please don't be! Nothing is ever confusing and you definitely never forget which one you are reading about!

Now a word for HUGH! I fell hard for this one! His story combines with Mary's in the "past" parts of the book and I don't think I've ever been so intrigued by a character! He was a man of few words most definitely, but I NEVER felt disconnected from him. This is what Ms. Kearsley is SO good at--making us fall for these characters even if they aren't chatty cathy's because you FEEL them and their emotions.

So, all in all, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, Scottish history or even just history in general, you won't be disappointed! And if this era isn't something you're into, I encourage you to check out her other work because you'll find there is a little something for everyone. I am certainly glad I did!

RATING: 5 Book Boyfriends

*all images found on google


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