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Ratings and Reviews (2 11 star ratings
2 reviews
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Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
11
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    Intriguing novel!

    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.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

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    Enjoyed one timeline much more than the other

    I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I liked it well enough but I didn't fall in love with it as I had expected to do. This is a story that is told in two timelines and I found that I really enjoyed one timeline much more than the other which usually makes it a little harder to completely enjoy a novel. I am glad that I decided to finally pick this one up and did enjoy the overall experience. As I mentioned, this book is told in two timelines. The first timeline is focused on Sara. Sara was a really interesting character that I found myself liking her right away. Sara has Asperger's Syndrome which does have an impact on how she thinks and sees the world. I enjoyed watching her work to break the code for Mary's diary as she was hired to do. I think that my favorite part of her timeline was the interactions with all the other characters. I loved watching her develop a relationship with Luc, Noah, and Denise. The second timeline follows Mary Dundas in the 1730s. Mary has been living with an aunt and really wants her father and brother to want her around so she is excited when her brother comes to get her. Her brother really needs Mary to help out with a mission to protect the Jacobite cause. Before she knows it, Mary is entangled in an exciting adventure that is quite dangerous. I never felt the same connection to Mary that I did with Sara. Even though there was more action in her timeline, I found that everything seemed to move rather slowly. I believe that this was my first time listening to Katherine Kellgren's narration and I have to admit that it did take me some time to get used to her voice. She did a good job with the rather large cast of characters and added a lot of emotion to the story. By the end of the book she did win me over and I had no problem listening for hours at a time. I think that a lot of readers will like this one a bit more than I did. This was a book that told two very interesting stories. Unfortunately, I preferred one of those stories much more than the other and anytime the book changed to a new timeline, I thought that it lost some momentum. I do look forward to reading more from Susanna Kearsley in the future. I received a digital review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.
11

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