Monday, February 11, 2013

River of Destiny

Barbara Erskine is one of my favourite authors, writing as she does about the two subjects which fascinate me above all; history and the paranormal. Barbara is on top form with this new novel which layers the stories of one place over three different time periods. The contemporary story is of London couple Zoe and Ken who are seeking a quieter life in the Suffolk countryside. Ken wants more time on the boat, while Zoe feels unsure what she wants. Their new home is a converted barn and it is Zoe who begins to feel the echoes of the buildings’ past. Throughout the book Barbara Erskine threads the earlier Victorian story of the blacksmith Dan and his wife Susan and the Anglo-Saxon story of the village which once occupied the site of the barn conversions. We also get the story of the neighbours; damaged former blacksmith Leo who helps Zoe to learn about the area’s past, and Rosemary who is determined to establish what she believes is an ancient right of way but is the mound in “dead man’s field” an ancient burial? Peopled with a terrific cast of well-drawn characters River of Destiny never disappoints, despite the different time lines it never gets confusing and each plot thread is as compelling as the other. Barbara Erskine is an enchanting storyteller and I can’t recommend her highly enough. I have been a fan since Kingdom of Shadows which I read as a teenager. I am in awe of her skill as a writer to hook the reader in and keep them turning the pages. Unlike many authors who after eleven novels (this is her twelfth) and countless short stories would have become jaded or formulaic Erskine writes with freshness and verve. I recommend Barbara Erskine if you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon, Kate Morton, Victoria Lamb or Helen Moorhouse.

River of Destiny is published in paperback by Harper Collins on Feb 14th 2013

This review will also be published on Love Reading


  1. I am a Huge Barbara Erskine fan and have been since Lady of Hay was first Published. I really enjoyed reading River of Destiny. I loved the fact that it is a combination of history and the supernatural. A haunting and suspenseful story which is full of ancient secrets, of love, lies, evil, mystery, and fear. I am a big fan of Gothic Historical novels with a touch of the Supernatural like Barbara writes. Another author who writes very much like her but you did not mention above is Susanna Kearsley. Between the two, theirs are the only books I need to read. I can read them over and over and enjoy them time and time again

    1. I have read a couple of Susanna Kearsley's books she is great. I also love Diana Gabaldon and a new author that I have just discovered this week is Anna Belfrage her website is I'm not sure if her books are available in Canada though. i'll be reviewing her first two books on the blog in the next few weeks.

  2. Can't wait for your review of Anna Belfrage...have to see if she is available in the US....
    I must get River of Destiny!! Thanks!