Book Review: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley


I received this copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Published April 7th 2015 by Sourcebooks Landmark

528 Pages

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Review: I have always been drawn to Susanna Kearsley’s covers but have not read a book written by her until now.  I am so glad that this was my first of her books because I loved it.  I’m a big fan of historical fiction but this book took that to the next level.  I loved bouncing back and forth between Mary Dundas in the 18th century and Sara Thomas in present day attempting to solve the cipher and translate Mary’s diary.  What makes Sara’s portion incredibly interesting is that she has Asperger’s.  I don’t think I have ever read a book where the main (or one of the main) characters has Asperger’s.  One thing I really enjoyed was how Sara seemed to grow as she read Mary’s diary.  I loved seeing how Sara was able to bond with Mary in a way and learn from her diary.  When it came to Mary’s chapters, I was equally as enthralled.  I was so eager to learn more about this incredible journey that Mary was on.  And the men in this book… dreamy and dashing.  There are so many things I wish I could gush about right now but I hate giving away spoilers.  If you do read this book, I highly suggest reading the author’s notes at the end of how she came about using all of the historical characters and references.  I just loved what she had to say about Mary.  I very much enjoyed this book and will definitely be purchasing it in the near future because it is definitely a book I would love to reread.

5/5 Stars

6 thoughts on “Book Review: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

    • I own at least two of her books but for one reason or another had never read them. This one was totally up my alley and I loved it so I’ll definitely be moving her others farther up my list tbr.


  1. Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed A Desperate Fortune as well. I agree, reading the author’s notes about the historical elements is so interesting! I hope you’ll read more of her books — she’s so talented!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge | The Worn Bookmark

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