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The Vanished Days

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Susanna Kearsley's The Vanished Days is a beautifully-written novel that tells the story of Adam Williamson, a soldier who had fought valiantly at Toubacanti - which I learned was a failed Scottish settlement in the 1700s in, of all places, Panama. Adam visits a friend he had served with in the war and is recruited to help the Government to verify whether a widow, Lily Aitcheson, was legally married and is therefore entitled to collect her dead husband's wages. The novel started out a little slowly but by halfway through, I was hooked on the story, which alternated back and forth between Lily's memories of the past (in the late 1600s) and the time period of the investigation (1707), all the while weaving in the fascinating history of the timeperiod. This is a prequel to the author's The Winter Sea which I had read 10 years ago and loved. I also enjoyed when Adam talked about his friends the Wildes, who were featured in the author's previous novel Bellewether. No spoilers, but I will tell you that the tale comes to a satisfying and happy ending. This is one I know I will want to re-read! 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you for the opportunity to review this book. This book wasn’t for me but I did appreciate trying a new author.
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Set in the late 1600s, early 1700s with dueling timelines the novel had moments of interest for me, especially as the story moved to Lily’s time in Barbara’s home. But there were moments it felt it was a bit drawn out and my interest waned. It does all come together well in the end but in general I don’t think I’m the target reader for this novel.
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4.5/5⭐️

I love Kearsley. Going in, I didn’t realize that this one is a prequel to The Winter Sea (which I haven’t read yet but am looking forward to). 

Set in Scotland and told in alternating timelines (1687-1707), this story is told against the backdrop of religious division,  revolution and intrigue and centers around Lily, a young woman (seen from age 7-adulthood as a widow). 

I won’t get into specifics except to say that Lily’s quest is to receive compensation for the death of her husband (a sailor). There’s joy, tears, despair, danger, hope and a sweet love story here. 

I enjoyed this book but felt like it was a bit of a slow starter compared to some of her others. And I found it a bit hard to work out a certain twist toward the end (as it took some backtracking). But as always, her writing triggers all sorts of emotions, and I simply can’t say enough about the AMOUNT of research and detail she includes in her stories. Characters are well-drawn, and I fell especially hard for Lily, Adam and Jamie. Definitely recommended. 

My thanks to #NetGalley and #SourceBooksLandmark for providing me the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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More adventures among the Graeme family, this time though I was not as invested in the characters as I was in the other stories. The book takes place solely in the past and a lot of time is spent reiterating a woman's uncertain place in this time. I was interested in some of the history like the siege of Bass, but I did not keep the factions and the Jamie's straight in this one.
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The Vanished Days, Susanna Kearsley's new novel (expected publication October 5, 2021), is set around the time of the union between England and Scotland, a time of turmoil in Scotland awash with rumors about a return of the exiled King James. But, The Vanished Days is Lily's story. Lily has filed a claim to recover monies owed her for the loss of her husband, a sailor on the Darien expedition. Her claim has been challenged, and Adam is asked to investigate. During the course of this investigation, we learn Lily's story.

    I was especially looking forward to The Vanished Days as I was under the impression that it was a prequel to The Winter Sea, my favorite of Kearsley's books. I was puzzled, after completing the book, as it did not strike me as being a prequel; I then saw the book referred to as a "companion novel" (or, a "prequel and companion novel"). Although the book is not really a prequel, much of it does involve the Graemes, the Morays, Captain Thomas Gordon, and others well known from The Winter Sea.

    The Vanished Days meanders through Lily's story in typical Kearsley fashion until the end where Kearsley included a plot twist that left me feeling a bit like I had been sucker punched. After taking a quick spin through The Winter Sea (because of the prequel issue, noted above), I immediately began reading The Vanished Days once again. I have a few concerns whether the "plot twist" works, but as that involves spoilers, I won't pursue that further here.

    One of my favorite parts of all Kearsley novels is her author's notes, entitled "About the Characters." In this, Kearsley notes what is historically accurate, what historical support she has, what she has introduced and why, and the like. And, her "About the Characters" in The Vanished Days does not disappoint. I love how Kearsley respects historical accuracy and weaves the fiction around what can be found.

    I am a longtime Kearsley fan and usually love everything that she writes. I do not love The Vanished Days; it is probably my least favorite Kearsley book. To be clear, although it may be my least favorite, it is, nonetheless, a Kearsley book, and, hence, held in very high regard. I did not particularly care for Lily. Throughout the book, I felt like I was learning about Lily as an outside observer (like I was reading about her); more often with Kearsley books, I feel like the characters draw me into the book with them. And, the book felt a bit choppy, like it jumped from stage to stage in Lily's life. Although Kearsley has masterfully smoothed out some of that "jumpiness," those transitions seemed more tenuous than is typical for her. 

    Nonetheless, The Vanished Days does provide welcome background for The Winter Sea. It is a solid addition to Kearsley's complex weaving about Scottish history and the Jacobites. Highly Recommended.
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I have loved Susanna Kearsley’s books for years. I have not read any for awhile, so when I saw a chance to read an ARC of this one through Net Galley, I jumped at the chance. It did not disappoint. The story in this one takes us to a time prior to The Winter Sea. Some characters are in both while the main storyline and characters in this one are different. Susanna gives a long explanation at that end of this book. I wish I had read it first. It explains which are based on real people and which are from her imagination. It would have added some clarity to the story and reminded me of the story in The Winter Sea. I read that one a long time ago! Still, I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me of why I used to devour Kearsley’s books. I may have to go back and reread some of them.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to publication. 

I absolutely loved The Winter Sea, so I was delighted for the chance to read this one. I admit I did not enjoy it as much. I loved the writer storyline in The Winter Sea, which was missing in this new installment. The Vanished Days goes back in time to the 1680s and introduces the reader to the Moray and Graeme families from the first book. Lily is a widow trying to claim her husband's wages, and much of the story revolves around the investigation into her marriage papers to see if she is indeed telling the truth. The characters and historical research are excellent, but I felt the story to be slow moving and hard to follow at times. I still don't quite get the ending. I did enjoy the writing style, but it just did not have what I loved from the first book. Readers who love Scottish history should really enjoy this book - just not for me.
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I decided to choose this book for review as I have read and enjoyed several of Kearsley's works. This one is a little different from those and I missed the gothic/majestic themes of those works. The Vanished Days is more of a historical detail dump with some shady characters. 

Lily is an easy character to emphasize with but the main crux of this novel was to prove a marriage occurred. The story goes back and forth with a myriad of characters that we don't know who is important or not. 

The narrative of Adam the investigator is dry and plodding. I honestly did not care about the info dump on Scotland/Caledonia/Jacobites but if you are an avid lover of this Era 1699-1707 this would interest you with the history and a dash of hope for a romance. 

If you are interested in starting with Susanna Kearsley, I had rated Named of The Dragon five stars, The Shadowy Horses four stars. Start there!
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I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Susanna Kearsley has become another of my "go-to" authors. This book shares some characters with a few other of her back-list titles, but the plot is not dependent on having read them.  

Set in Scotland in the early 18th century, there is a mystery revolving around a woman's claim to the pension of her dead husband and the investigation into that claim. The author does a great job of slowly revealing clues and miss-directing the reader for the final reveal. My immediate reaction after finishing this was that I wanted to start over again to try and follow the clues.

The novel is slow-paced, atmospheric and character driven. It will appeal to fans of historical fiction like Outlander.
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Good historical fiction is an escape. GREAT historical fiction is the next best thing to time travel. And, lucky for us, Susanna Kearsley yet again transports her readers. She’s found a sweet spot in 17th & 18th century Scotland and the reader is once whisked away to both Scotland and, by extension, the failed colony of Darien/Caledonia (which was a complete surprise to me — I love learning whilst “time traveling”).

There are a lot of characters to keep track of and, sometimes, the switch timelines bogged me down a bit. But don’t let either of those minor critiques keep you away from this story, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction!
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I have enjoyed Kearsley’s book before but it can be a hit or miss. This one was a miss. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story, but it was so slow and long.


I was provided with an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I love Susanna Kearsley books and this was no exception. I loved the writing, historical setting, the characters. The book also stands alone on its own, you don't need to read the companion. I enjoyed it very much!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC.

The Vanished Days is a companion and prequel novel to The Winter Sea. I'm a fan of The Winter Sea and I even listened to audiobook to refresh my memory. I don't think it's absolutely necessary to read The Winter Sea before, but I am glad I did. I caught all the little Easter eggs.

There are three timelines but it's easy to keep track of because the chapters are dated. There's an undisclosed present day, the early 1700s (that coincides with The Winter Sea story), and flashbacks to the 1600s. 

There are also many characters and I did have to make a list to keep track. I really felt sympathy for some of the characters and suspicious of others. I loved the mystery and it kept me guessing with each turn of the page. I was totally unprepared for the outcome and want to read it again soon to catch all the details I missed.

I also love the historical aspect with the Jacobites and the failed Scottish colony. There are so many little unknown parts of history I learn about from historical fiction.

Even though I have only read two of Kearsley's books, I am an instant fan. I really love her writing style. She does a great job of weaving the timelines and the connections between her books. She does her research and knows how to pull you in and make you care about the characters and their lives while wishing for the bad guys to get what's coming to them.

5 out of 5 Marriage Certificates.
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The setting: "...a historical tale of intrigue and revolution in Scotland, where the exile of King James brought plots, machinations, suspicion and untold bravery to light. An investigation of a young widow's secrets... 1707, old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England....  When the young widow of a Darien sailor comes forward to collect her husband's wages, her claim is challenged. One of the men assigned to investigate has only days to decide if she's honest..."

Full disclaimer: this is a prequel/companion novel to The Winter Sea--which I have not read. Nonetheless,  it can stand alone. This book "...goes back in time to the 1680s and introduces the reader to the Moray and Graeme families."

I quite enjoyed this book and it exemplified how little I know about Scotland so the history was very interesting/informative.

There is mystery and intrigue which kept the plot [slowly] moving forward.  Was Lily married to her husband Jamie Graeme as claimed? Lily's story is told over time--from a young child to widowhood. All this background is quite interesting and enhances the novel.

Politics and religion, family [and pseud0 family] and betrayal are at the heart of this story.

I liked the women in this book the best--Lily [the protagonist] and Barbara--who also had a pivotal role. Sergeant Adam Williamson, the narrator, is a sympathetic character. He has his own story to tell--which is intertwined and provides more  historical information on Scotland and Darien/Caledonia [more things I had no knowledge of]! And Archie is despicable.

I loved the writing/style which matched the timeframe of the story and commend the author's effort [which paid off!].

A great description:

"...feigned an interest in the tennis games of conversation..."

Words I looked up: scrutore [correctly guessed the definition] and quairs.

There is a lot of back and forth [timelines and otherwise] in this novel. I was intrigued and wanted to see how it all played out and was not disapointed. There were a few worm turns moments but they not detract/foretell and the story continued to hold my interest.

Recommend.
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A fantastic historical blockbuster of a novel. Susanna Kearsley has outdone herself! The depth of research into Scottish history the author has done is easy to be seen. It deserves every one of the five stars I've given it.
Concentration is needed as there is a huge cast of characters and the historical element is immense.
This book is a prequel to The Winter Sea/Sophia's Secret which is still my favourite Kearsley book since I first read it years ago.

It's a dual timeline but the timelines are not too far apart. We begin in 1707 and the back story starts in 1683.

Lily is the main character and I admired her greatly. Her life has never been easy but she just gets on with it.
The story is told through the eyes of Adam who is working, by chance, for the Commission of the Equivalent. This was set up to investigate claims by family who claimed recompense for relatives deaths who died in their duty to their country.
Lily is trying to prove her marriage is genuine but there is added interest in her claim which makes for intrigue.
It's a novel of family, or lack of family, of friendship, loyalty and deep, deep love. The twist at the end was brilliant! I didn't see it coming but thinking back I realise there was a point when it should have clicked with me.
The depiction of Scotland in this era is wonderfully done. I was sucked in from the beginning and held until the last page. I spent quite a bit of time afterwards looking up information on parts of the history related in the novel.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction or just a damn good read.

Thanks to SOURCE books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book to read and review.
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I really like the story and the characters were well-developed and I felt their personalities come alive in the pages that i read.  I felt that they were real.

This book was very well developed and very well researched however I felt that this book was really long and I sometimes  got lost in a lot of the details of the history.However I really did enjoy the story and I recommend the story completely.

My thoughts and opinions and all my reviews are my own and only my own and I want to thank thempublisher and netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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I was so excited to read the new Susanna Kearsley book.  She is one of my favorite authors.  The reason I love her books so much is because she intricately weaves the past and present. and gives stories to people in the past the we might not other wise have known about.  She also has the special talent of weaving her books together in very creative ways.  She did this again with The Vanished Days.  This book brings back characters from The Winter Sea and The Firebird and gives us a completely different story.  It is related in such a way that the reader always connects the dots.  
The Vanished Days does not disappoint.  This is the story of Lily and an investigation of her marriage in order to claim funds from the Government after the death of her husband.  Her backstory is the premise of the investigation and we get to meet old and new characters against the backdrop of Jacobites in Scotland.  The story has deception, danger and a clear depiction of true love.  I devoured this book and when the ending came I was shocked and not ready for it to be over.  There are twists and turns that kept me engaged and I think this was one of Susanna Kearsley's best books.  This book is a standalone but I recommend reading the other two books to really connect the dots.  You will not be disappointed.
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This book is technically a prequel to The Winter Sea, but you really don't have to have read that book to jump right into this one. It does follow a similar plot of having two timelines, of which normally I am not a fan but Susanna Kearsley manages to do it in a way that I don't mind when it switches back and forth. Probably because the two timelines relate to the overall story and really are just two parts of the same story. Historically this book takes place in Scotland in the late 1600s and early 1700s. 

One of the reasons I love Kearsley's books is the amount of research she clearly puts into each novel. The attention to detail is fantastic and truly makes me feel like I am transported to the 17th and 18th centuries. She also creates characters who feel real - they have flaws and are far from perfect - and you can see how the characters evolve throughout the book. 

Overall I enjoyed this book as much as The Winter Sea, which I look forward to re-reading again after having read this book.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to give an honest review of this book!
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4.5 STARS
The setting for this very fine novel is Edinburgh, Scotland in the Autumn of 1707; a nation very unsettled because of the union with England. The possibility of war is once again looming for Scotland with the Jacobites attacking from France where their exiled king lives. Whatever the people’s political leanings, Edinburgh seems to be a hotbed of intrigue, hidden agendas, and sympathizers for more than one faction with the attendant spies and watchers looking out for enemies. Queen Anne tasked her commissioners in an effect to restore some peace with giving out payments to those who lost family and wages because of the failed Darien expedition eight years ago.

Lily Graeme comes forward to collect her late husband’s wages; however, her claim is challenged and so two men are tasked with proving whether or not she is entitled to the remuneration. Told in the form of a memoir written by one of the men, Sergeant Adam Williamson, Lily’s backstory is slowly revealed by various people she has known throughout her life.

Throughout the narrative, Adam's feelings become clear that he has more than a professional interest in the enigmatic Lily while interviewing her and doing the detective work he is assigned. The pieces slowly come together for Adam and the reader to discern who is friend or foe requiring quite a bit of the personal history showing Lily’s life and hardships. This story has some very cleverly hidden surprises which are revealed when it all comes to fruition.

This is a very complex tale woven in a historical backdrop during one of the many times of strife for the Scottish people bringing to life what the period might have been like. The multiple characters and their narratives with clues added in small portions require the reader to pay close attention to figure out what is going and who to believe. This book of well-researched history coupled with the characters at the heart of the story will please fans of Ms. Kearsley with this prequel novel to THE WINTER SEA.
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