As predicted, I loved this book! Historical fiction with that little bit of fantasy and romance woven into it. Susanna Kearsley has never let me down and this story definitely goes into my top five so far for this year.
There are two main characters in this story. The first one, Nicola, lives in the present and has the special gift of "seeing" the details of the items she touches. When an older woman in need of money comes to her with a small carving of a firebird, she hopes to find proof that it once belonged to Empress Catherine of Russia so that she can sell it, Nicola knows it is authentic just from touching it but has no proof but her "gift" of knowing. She enlists the help of a old boyfriend Rob, who has the same gift and they go on a journey that takes place both in the present and the past to find proof that the carving is indeed authentic. The other main character the story is Anna, whose life we see through the visions of Nicola and Rob as they try to unravel the mystery of this firebird.
Susanna Kearsley sucked me immediately into this story as she always does and I found myself completely engrossed in both of the female lead characters and in the details of the historical time period. If you read either The Shadowy Horses or The Winter Sea, you will notice that she bring a few of the minor characters from those stories and features them more prominently in this book. I love how she travels from past to present and back again without the writing being choppy or confusing for the reader. We read one chapter focusing on Nicola and Rob and then move back to the 1700's and join Anna. When I closed the book at the end, I was both satisfied with how each story ended but also sad that it was over. I will be eagerly awaiting Susanna Kearsley's next novel!