Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

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Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Holly Lewtas
Reviewed by Holly Lewtas
Summary: An enthralling story of romance and the supernatural that centres around something so simple as a house on Long Island. Kearlsey carries on her streak of skilfully written historical fictions which all have some truth attached to them.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 448 Date: August 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 978-1492687863

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Flitting between the present day and mid 16thcentury, Bellewether tells the fascinating tale of the Wilde House and all its inhabitants. In the present tense aspects, the Wilde House is being turned into a museum due to the legacy left by Captain Benjamin Wilde. It is told from the perspective of Charley, the museum curator, who is intrigued by the ghost who haunts the house and their story; a tale that ends in tragedy involving Benjamin Wilde's sister, Lydia, and a French-Canadian lieutenant, Jean-Philippe who was sent to live there. The perspective of the book is continuously shifted between Charley, then Lydia and Jean-Philippe. The latter two tell the truth about what was happening during this chaotic time in history, just as Charley is beginning to unravel it herself.

The first few pages of this book tell you a brief history of the Wilde House's inhabitants, going as far back as 1682. Although interesting I found this quite perplexing and confusing as you are told straight away an extensive list of names as well as all the modifications to have happened to the house. This was quite difficult to keep up with when mixed with the fact that the book heavily focuses on different aspects of American history which not everyone will know in depth. After reading the opening chapters I did not think I would enjoy this book yet I am so pleased I persevered. This book included a tale of great romance, incorporating vast themes such as slavery and PTSD, from numerous perspectives, highlighting how different the world is today, but also how much it has remained the same.

Whilst the concept of this story is genius in itself, the way in which Susanna Kearsley chose to tell it was magnificent. The transition between chapters, and thus perspectives, was achieved perfectly and made the book flow, even as you manoeuvred through time. The parallels between the present-day characters and those of the past added to how well the story tied in together. Also, Jean-Philippe cannot speak any English, so therefore speaks and thinks in French. Kearsley dealt with this flawlessly, ensuring that the reader never forgets that this character wasn't communicating in English. This was done in a subtle way, such as through the inclusion of French words or through how Jean-Philippe converses with other characters.

Kearlsey has written a book that spans across several genres and contains numerous elements that fit perfectly together. The varying tales of romance between characters, loss, heartbreak and the additional spooky, more sinister side, contributes to what can only be described as captivating. Each chapter improves on the last and contains many twists and turns, even when you did not think there was any room for doubt. Not only this but there are hints of humour, as shown in my favourite line from the book: Every woman … needs a pair of power shoes.. You will be left shocked and in awe of Kearlsey.

A similar book that I would recommend which is also about a complicated family and spans across nearly a century is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. You might also enjoy Walking Wounded by Sheila Llewellyn.

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Buy Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley at


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