Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publish Date: August 7, 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
# of Pages: 448
Buy it*: Amazon
(From Goodreads) “The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren’t such easy things to keep.”
It’s late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.
Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley’s latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you’ve closed the last page.
Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 4
Pace – 3
Plot Development – 3
Ending – 3
Characters – 3
Enjoyability – 4
Ease of Reading – 4
Overall Rating – ⭐⭐⭐
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley is a historical fiction that has romance, mystery, and a dash of ghosts thrown in. Told through multiple perspectives, part of the book is set in the mid-1750s, whereas the rest of the story is told in modern time.
I’ve read other books by Susanna Kearsley, so I knew I would be entering a world rich with detail and historical facts when I picked up Bellewether. In that regard, it didn’t disappoint! While I enjoyed the book, it unfortunately left me wanting more, and I found myself dissatisfied with how it ended.
The pacing of the book was somewhat slow, especially the first half of the book as the characters set the stage for future events. The pace picked up considerably the last half of the book, which was appreciated.
The story is told through Lydia Wilde, Jean-Phillippe—the French soldier–, and Charley, the Benjamin Wilde museum curator. I really liked the multiple perspectives and how the present mirrored the past. It was a cool way to tell the story, and I liked learning about the characters through the perspectives of past and present.
While the multiple perspectives was a neat feature, the plot development felt disjointed, and there were loose strings that never got tied up. First off, Charley’s niece seemed like an unnecessary character. She did little to advance the storyline, and there was never any closure in her life. Second, the storyline with the grandmother was left unresolved. Talk about an elephant in the room! The disconnect between the grandmother and the rest of Charley’s family was discussed throughout the book, but there’s never any resolution. When the book ended, this felt like a gaping hole. While in general I liked the storyline, the niece and grandmother dragged it down for me.
For reasons mentioned above, the ending wasn’t satisfying. Lydia and Jean-Phillippe lives were wrapped up nicely, while everyone else was left in limbo. I didn’t like all of the loose ends.
The characters in Bellewether were interesting. While there wasn’t a ton of character depth, they were all unique and easy to connect with.
Overall, I still enjoyed this book. I liked it, but didn’t love it. If you enjoy historical fiction, this one might be worth picking up. If you’re new to the genre, I would start with another book.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Is Bellewether on your TBR? What books have you read by Susanna Kearsley?
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