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Book Club: The Firebird, by Susanna Kearsley

By Margaret Manning February 07, 2014 Mindset

The Firebird is the latest book by New York Times best-selling author Susanna Kearsley. She was a museum curator before becoming a writer and her love for ancient artifacts and the mysteries they embody is woven in this book.

“The Firebird” is the story of Nicola Marter, who was born with a rare supernatural gift. Whenever she touches an object, she sees images of its past, where it came from and the people who owned it. As a young woman she thinks she is a freak, and hides her ability. However, when Nicola moves to London her secret is put to the test.

She works in a gallery where she meets a young woman who shows her an old wooden carving, called the Firebird. The woman says that it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine and Nicola’s special powers of intuition confirm that she is telling the truth. However Nicola sees that the object is so much more than it appears to be.

The mystery of the carving unfolds as Nicola enlists the help of a friend named Rob and travels from Scotland to Belgium, and finally to St Petersburg in Russia to learn the mystery of the Firebird. Nicola and Rob unearth a story that will change their lives for ever.

Kearsley uses all her literary talent to make the characters reveal the multi-faceted side of their personalities. This is, for me, the theme of the book. People and things are not always what they appear to be.

I chose this book for the Sixty and Me Community because of the pure fantasy of the journey that the author creates. She paints a magical mystery tour, full of fascinating characters that constantly surprise and intrigue, very much like the people that women over 60 have met and loved in their lives. The constant theme of things not being what they appear is connected to the personas we, as older women, have created for others to see.

We sometimes hide an inner self that is very different from what we show the world. I love Susanna Kearsley’s writing style, which delivers a detailed historical travelogue combined with strong emotional feelings in the form of two love stories that women of all ages can relate to.

If you don’t already have a copy of “The Firebird,” you can get it on Amazon.

To kick things off, here are a few questions. Please add your thoughts in the comments:

Nicola seems obsessed by projecting an outside image of who she is and not revealing her true inner self. Do you think people have different “images,” or versions, of themselves?

Do you think that people can have psychic ability? Or is it just that true intimacy with someone allows you to really understand them?

What was your favourite setting in the book? Would you prefer visiting England, Scotland or Russia? Why?

As the story unfolds, Nicola begins draws from her friend’s bravery in order to be braver herself. Is there someone in your life that makes you feel brave?

If you had such a psychic ability like Nicola, would you tell others or keep it a secret?

Did you think the plot twist at the end was predictable?

Do you believe in psychics, or clairvoyants? Have you ever had your fortune told? Did it come true?

I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at margaret@sixtyandme.com

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