About The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley
There are many who believe they know what happened, but they do not know the whole of it. The rumours spread, and grow, and take their hold, and so to end them I have been persuaded now to take my pen in hand and tell the story as it should be told…
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.
A story of intrigue, adventure, endurance, romance…and the courage to hope.
Review of The Vanished Days
The Vanished Days is told through the narrator, Sergeant Adam Williamson, as he investigates the claim of Lily Aitcheson. The first person viewpoint tells the reader that Williamson is telling his personal tale. The third person perspective means that Williamson is telling someone else’s tale with details provided by the many witness he questioned. The effect is to create a dual storyline, a method often used by Susanna Kearsley, as her readers will be aware.
The book centers on Lily’s story: from her childhood with its happy, memorable moments to the days when it appears the world is against her. Lily perseveres through many trials using her own grit and sometimes getting help from friends and family. Ultimately, there are terrible men using their power over women. But there are also good men who will do what is right. The Vanished Days has a few characters to boo and curse at, but even more to hope for, weep for and cheer for.
There is a great deal of withholding of information by the narrator (or by the author). One of the characters, Robert Moray, said “All men do leave pieces out when they tell tales.” This is evident in the way the characters lives intersect in ways the reader does not imagine they will intersect. When the facts are revealed, the revelations are pleasantly surprising and may even bring tears of joy. If you have read Ms. Kearsley’s books, you are familiar with the path she likes to take.
Slains and Scottish are the two series names that now appear to be attached to this book. Whatever you call it, The Vanished Days is pure Kearsley storytelling magic. If you enjoyed The Winter Sea and/or The Firebird, I recommend you check out The Vanished Days.
Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book so I could bring you my honest review.
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