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Mariana by Susanna Kearsley was reissued in 2012. Julia on her third random encounter with a charming old house decides she has to purchase it. She gives up her life in London for the small town life. Along the way she discovers her ties to a woman named Mariana who lived during the Restoration.
I read the book for the description of the haunted house. The initial couple of chapters deliver just that — a mysterious house, a ghost on a gray horse and a woman in a green dress. Rooms flip between their modern setting and older time periods. This set up is moody, atmospheric and completely addicting.
Then the book moves from being about ghosts to being about reliving the past. Julia is suddenly inside the body of Mariana and is basically along for the ride. At first these extended flash backs come without warning but then, for plot convenience, Julia gains control over them and like a drug addict continues to pop back into Mariana's life.
The big hook for the novel is supposed to be Mariana's life and the mysterious Richard and how he ties into Julia's handsome neighbor. If you are a fan of period romances, then you will love the novel. If you're not, you will be left with lengthy flashbacks that feel forced and a modern day story that boils down to drinking in the pub, hanging out with Julia's ever-so-perfect vicar brother, waking up in dangerous situations and mooning over reincarnation.
Read via NetGalley