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.
Our Thoughts On:
Susanna Kearsley entrances readers with one of her latest releases of A Desperate Fortune. Taking a modernday codebreaker and entwining her with a Jacobite Rebellion once more, Kearlsey brings us the story of Sara Thomas, a woman hired to break the code hidden in an old journal that could hold historical secrets.
Sara is soon wrapped up in the history of the diary’s author, Mary Dundas, and all throughout her stories are surprises that Sara uncovers. From journal to historical adventure Mary’s tale with capture reads. Sara is a great character who helps us unravel Mary’s story more, and as we get impressions for both Mary and Sara throughout the book, it makes it even harder to put down.
Unfolding with each page, another tale is brought to life of the Jacobite struggle during the 1700’s. With rich historical setting and fabulous writing it almost feels that we are on Mary’s journey across Europe. Sara’s journey within Paris to places that Mary had encountered was a great addition to the story to capture readers into the moments in the book.
Susanna Kearsley has again written another amazing set of stories in history surrounding the Jacobite Rebellion in Europe, and woven with accounts of characters in present day that will capture readers into her heroine's plights across the centuries. With historical detail and compelling writing, readers almost feel like we are in the moment happening on the pages.