Book Review: THE FIREBIRD by Susanna Kearsley



Series: Slains, #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Released: June 4, 2013
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Whoever dares to seek the Firebird may find the journey — and its ending — unexpected.

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images; glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.

But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s first Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving — known as “The Firebird” — is worthless. But Nicola’s held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth, and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.

Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left, and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia.

There, in St. Petersburg — the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia — Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption…an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.


I love books that blend past events with the present, and THE FIREBIRD did so in a unique way. Nicola Marter is a secret psychometrist, someone who can divine information about people or events by touching an object. A new client comes to the gallery where she works with a small wooden carving she calls “The Firebird.” The woman believes the carving once belonged to Catherine the Great and was given as a gift to one of her ancestors. Nicola can sense by touching the bird that the woman’s story is possibly true. However, she can’t tell the client or her boss this without exposing her gift, so she sets out on a quest to find another way to prove the item’s authenticity.

Nicola is a smart, compassionate and determined character, but she’s also quite stubborn and unsure when it comes to using her gift of sight. She enlists the help of a lost love named Rob McMorran (aka little Robbie from The Shadowy Horses, all grown up), whose ability to see the past is much greater than hers. Rob is more open and honest about his gift, and he hopes he can teach Nicola to embrace hers as they go through this journey together.

So, essentially, Nicola and Rob were chasing “visions” of the client’s relative, Anna, in the past. They tracked her from place to place across Europe, and they were able to see important events from her life that eventually led her to Russia. Young Anna’s life was an exciting and dangerous adventure to read about, as she was caught up in the political intrigue of the time. I also enjoyed the dual romances in this book, one in the present and one in the past.

THE FIREBIRD was an engrossing, well-researched story that will delight fans of paranormal and historical fiction. While I did enjoy THE SHADOWDY HORSES more (it had an extra-special “something”), THE FIREBIRD was a wonderful and unique follow-up.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.