Susanna Kearsley Books in Order (The Firebird, The Vanished Days)

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Canadian novelist, Susanna Kearsley used to work as a museum curator before making a name for herself as a writer – she also used the pen name Emma Cole to write thrillers. However, Susanna Kearsley is mostly known for writing historical fiction and mysteries and found her biggest success with The Winter Sea, The Firebird, The Rose Garden, and A Desperate Fortune.

How to read Susanna Kearsley’s Books in Order?

The Slains Series

  1. The Winter Sea (2008) – 1707. An ill-fated expedition for the New World left Sophia Paterson an orphan, cared for by her uncle. On his passing, a distant relative offers what Sophia longs for most: a home. Slains Castle, on the rugged Scottish coast, is much more comfortable than she is accustomed to. But danger is right around the corner, as rebels conspire to bring the exiled James Stewart to Scotland to reclaim his crown. Present day. Enchanted by the ruins of the castle, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn this all-but-forgotten story into her next novel. Settling in the nearby village, she creates a heroine named after one of her ancestors and starts to write. Discovering her novel contains more than she researched, Carrie wonders if this is ancestral memory…
  2. The Firebird (2013) – Art-dealer Nicola Marter was born with a gift so rare and dangerous, she kept it buried deep. When she encounters a desperate woman trying to sell a small wooden carving called “The Firebird,” claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, there’s no proof. But once Nicola holds the object, her buried talent gives her surprising insight. She knows the woman is telling the truth. Trying to keep to her hard-won job, Nicola sets out to confirm the fascinating history of The Firebird with help from a man she never thought she’d see again.
  3. The Vanished Days (2021) – Autumn, 1707. Old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to carry the young exiled Jacobite king back to Scotland to reclaim his throne, and in Edinburgh, the streets are filled with discontent and danger. Queen Anne’s commissioners, seeking to calm the situation, have begun settling the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier. When Lily, the young widow of a Darien sailor, comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged, and one of the men who’s assigned to examine her has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are making him blind to the truth, and if he’s being used as a pawn in an even more treacherous game.

Other Novels by Susanna Kearlsey

  • Undertow (1993) – Mystery novelist Laura Callaghan agrees to look after her sister’s secluded beach house in Nova Scotia. There her only neighbors are long-time friend and artist, Ben Forrestal, and handsome Michael Sinclair who rents the small lighthouse nearby. Ben’s studio is on the second floor of the large colonial inn he used to own, and Laura finds out through his old photographs and a diary that the inn was built in the 1790s by a sea captain whose descendants were both fishermen and smugglers. This inspires Laura to start working on a new novel, but when she realizes that Michael has a friend whose death was related to a current smuggling operation, she finds herself dangerously involved in more ways than one…
  • The Gemini Game (1994) – After the death of her grandfather, Karen Caldwell fled Seven Oaks, leaving her family and its prestigious thoroughbred stables — as well as the bad memories — behind. She moved north to Pittsburgh, started a successful clothing business, and began a new life. Now, eight years later, another death mysteriously summons her home.
  • Mariana (1994) – When Julia Beckett moves into a beautiful old farmhouse, she soon discovers she’s not alone there. She encounters haunting remnants of a beautiful young woman who lived and loved there centuries ago. Julia finds herself transported into 17th-century England, and into the world of Mariana. Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past… until she realizes Mariana’s life is eclipsing her own. She must lay the past to rest or risk losing the chance for happiness in her own time.
  • The Splendour Falls (1995) – Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, France and promptly disappears―well, that’s Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a “treasure of great price.” And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, there was another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.
  • Named of the Dragon (1998) – The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its rich history, crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago. Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose―and she’s running out of time. With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.
  • The Shadowy Horses (1999) – The invincible ninth Roman Legion marches from York to fight the Northern tribes, and then vanishes from the pages of history. When Verity Grey goes looking for them in modern-day Scotland, she may find more than she bargained for. Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it―not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has “seen” a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
  • Season of Storms (2001) – In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D’Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his romance with his muse, actress Celia Sands. But on the eve of the premiere, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed. Two generations later, Alessandro D’Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands―at the whim of her actress mother, or so she thought. When Celia arrives at D’Ascanio’s magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake’s disappearance―and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.
  • Every Secret Thing (2006) (written using the pen name Emma Cole) – Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had spoken to her – about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder and, most worryingly, her grandmother. His story was old, he had told her, but still deserving of justice. Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother’s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man’s footsteps.
  • The Rose Garden (2011) – After the death of her sister, Eva Ward leaves Hollywood and all its celebrities behind to return to the only place she feels she truly belongs, the old house on the coast of Cornwall, England. She’s seeking comfort in memories of childhood summers, but what she finds is mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time. Soon Eva discovers that the man, Daniel Butler, is very, very real and he draws her into a world of intrigue, treason, and love. Inside the old British house, begins to question her place in the present, she realizes she must decide where she really belongs: in the life she knows or the past she feels so drawn towards.
  • A Desperate Fortune (2015) – For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher. Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing―for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.
  • Bellewether (2018) – It’s late summer in 1759, 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 Lydia, the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde discovers that Jean-Philippe is a true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined.
  • The Deadly Hours (short story, 2020) – An anthology rich with atmosphere and intrigue that encapsulates the exquisite destruction, heartbreak, and redemption wrought by fate. Contains writings from C S Harris, Susanna Kearsley and Christine Trent.
  • The King’s Messenger (2024) – 1613: King James – sixth of Scotland, first of England, son of Mary, Queen of Scots – has unified both countries under one crown. But the death of his eldest son, Henry, has plunged the nation into mourning, as the rumours rise the prince was poisoned.  Andrew Logan’s heard the rumours, but he’s paid them little heed. As one of the King’s Messengers he has enough secrets to guard, including his own. In these perilous times, when the merest suggestion of witchcraft can see someone tortured and hanged, men like Andrew must hide well the fact they were born with the Sight. He’ll need all his gifts, though, when the king sends Andrew north to find and arrest Sir David Murray, once Prince Henry’s trusted courtier, and bring him a prisoner to London to stand trial before the dreaded Star Chamber.

If you like Susanna Kearsley’s books, you may also want to see our Lady Darby reading order or our guide to Diana Gabaldon’s series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

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