Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Review - - The Vanished Days

The Vanished Days
by Susanna Kearsley
The Scottish series - Book 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

In the autumn of 1707, old enemies from the Highlands to the Borders are finding common ground as they join to protest the new Union with England. At the same time, the French are preparing to launch an invasion to bring 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 paying out money sent up from London to settle the losses and wages owed to those Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier—an ill-fated venture that left Scotland all but bankrupt.

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, or if his own feelings are blinding him to the truth.

PJ's Thoughts:

For my money, Susanna Kearsley is one of the most gifted authors writing historical fiction today. With impeccable research, vivid descriptions, and complex, fully developed characters, she fully immerses me into whatever place and era she writes. 

In The Vanished Days, that place is Edinburgh, Scotland and the time is 1707. The narrator of the story is Sergeant Adam Williamson, an American soldier of Scottish birth who is tasked with investigating the claim of the young widow, Lily. The story is told through flashbacks, from both his perspective as well as Lily's. It's intriguing, poignant, suspenseful, and powerful. Once I began reading, I could not put the book down, eagerly flipping pages right up until the stunning conclusion. It's a fictional tale of friendship, betrayal, intrigue, pride, mystery, revenge, and enduring love, seamlessly playing out across the historical landscape of actual events with real people interwoven throughout the fictional. I could probably fill three or four pages with everything I loved about this book but readers should have the personal experience of discovering all the facets of these characters as well as the twists and turns of the journey on their own.

While The Vanished Days is the third book of a series, it is actually a prequel to the first two books. Though it does weave in and out of the timeline of book one, The Winter Sea, it stands well on its own and readers shouldn't miss out on anything by reading The Vanished Days first. I do, however, highly recommend both The Winter Sea and book two, The Firebird. In fact, I recommend everything Susanna Kearsley has written. If you enjoy rich historical detail paired with spellbinding storytelling, she is an author you will not want to miss. 

Have you read Susanna Kearsley yet?

Do you have a favorite novel of hers? 

Who are some of your favorite historical fiction authors?


  1. I enjoy her books. Loved the first two in this series and have The Vanished Days on my audible wish list. Glad to see your 5 star rating!

    1. I've heard the audible version will have a male narrator which should make it even better since Adam's character is the narrator of the book.

  2. I love her books!! I can't wait to read this one. To pick just one I will say Grace Burrowes but there are really so many!

    1. Grace Burrowes is a wonderful writer.

      I randomly met Susanna Kearsley at the end of a conference a few years ago when we both had about an hour to kill in the hotel lobby before heading to the airport. She was absolutely lovely. We chatted about the book she was working on, her research, and ideas for future stories. If I hadn't been a fan already, that would have clinched it. She is so fascinating!

    2. That is always lovely to hear - knowing an author is how you imagine her to be!! Thanks.

    3. Oh, and Grace Burrowes is also a wonderful person!!

  3. I absolutely love her PJ! My favorite by her is Mariana, so far. As much as I love her I haven't read many of her books but every time they go on sale I snap them up. I'm pretty sure I own all of them by now. LOL She's one of those authors whose writing is so detailed that I have to read with no distractions, but she definitely draws you in and makes it hard to put her books down.

  4. I haven't yet, but she is definitely going on my list!!!

  5. WOW, you have provided me with another author that sounds absolutely perfect for me. Thank you for the introduction.

    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

  6. I've been reading and loving Susanna Kearsley's books for years, and I'm really looking forward to The Vanished Days. Joanna Bourne is probably my favorite historical romance writer, but I also love Grace Burrowes, and I adore Mary Balogh.

  7. I have heard wonderful things about this author’s stories and The Winter Sea is in my tbr pile.