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Susanna Kearsley is a Canadian New York Times, USA Today and Globe and Mail bestselling author of historical romance, historical mystery and historical fiction novels.

Born into a family with a deep-rooted reading culture, Susanna’s earliest memories of reading go back to when she was reading Little Women at the age of seven.

Although she wrote throughout her teenage years, her dreams of becoming an author were averted when she went to study politics and international development at university, before subsequently working as a curator at a museum.

Not to be delayed any further, she went on to finish her first book, Undertow (1993), while still working at the museum.

Now an award-winning author whose books have been published and translated in more than 25 countries, Susanna currently makes her home near Toronto.

More about Susanna Kearsley

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance

Born: 1966


Pseudonym: Also known as Emma Cole


Non Series

  • Undertow (1993)
  • The Gemini Game (1994)
  • Mariana (1994)
  • The Splendour Falls (1995)
  • The Shadowy Horses (1997)
  • Named of the Dragon (1998)
  • Season of Storms (2001)
  • Every Secret Thing (2006)
  • The Rose Garden (2011)
  • A Desperate Fortune (2015)
  • Bellewether (2018)
  • The Deadly Hours (2020)


  1. The Winter Sea (2008)
  2. The Firebird (2013)
  3. The Vanished Days (2021)

Detailed book overview

Non Series


Those of use who enjoy Susanna Kearsley's deft touch at romantic suspense will perhaps be a bit fanatical about wanting to find the two books, "Gemini Game" and "Undertow" which she wrote for Avalon Books, a puplisher that brings "Americans the finest in family reading." 

Like "Gemini Game", "Undertow" is an innocuous little story with the fairly stereotypical characters one would expect to find in romantic suspense geared towards young adult readers. Laura, our heroine, writes mysteries; she is cute, pert, intelligent and a bit impetuous. Her dry spell sends her to her sister's beach house where atmosphere and town history quickly spur the creative juices. 

Michael, the love interest, reeks of masculinity as proclaimed from an attitude originating from the chiseled face staring down from a well-muscled 6 foot 2 inch frame. The suspects oscillate from innocence to guilt as Laura overhears key snatches of conversation involving the inhabitants of an inn in a small Nova Scotian seafaring town where the tendency to smuggle contraband has been passed on from generation to generation.

"Undertow" certainly does not have the structural complexity of "Splendor Falls" or "Name of the Dragon", but the Kearsley magic can still be uncovered: her dialogue flows easily despite the cutsy adjectives and adverbs describing the underlying magnetism between the two leads. Her knack for developing sexual attraction is in full force. 

For those devourers of romantic suspense, "Undertow" may seem juvenile; its outcome easily predicted. For those Susanna Kearsley fans, "Undertow" is a must-have in collection that may one day rival Mary Stewart. Rated 4 stars, not for its value as a story but for its significance in the development of a great romantic suspense writer.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-0803489875
Publisher: Thomas Bouregy & Co
The Gemini Game

After the death of her grandfather, Karen Caldwell fled Seven Oaks, leaving her family and its prestigious thoroughbred stables -- as well as the bad memories -- behind. She moved north to Pittsburgh, started a successful clothing business, and began a new life. Now, eight years later, another death mysteriously summons her home.

But her family is not pleased by her sudden reappearance, and no one will admit to sending her the telegram informing her of her brother Alec's death. When Nick, Alec's twin, hints that the death was no accident, Karen's search to uncover the truth leads her deep into a web of deceit and family secrets.

To make matters worse, when Karen begins to have "accidents" of her own, she finds that the only person she can trust is the irritating but seemingly honest stable manager, Greg Slater...

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-0803490475
Publisher: Thomas Bouregy & Co

When Julia Beckett moves into a beautiful old farmhouse, she soon discovers she's not alone there. She encounters haunting remnants of a beautiful young woman who lived and loved there centuries ago. Julia finds herself transported into 17th-century England, and into the world of Mariana.

Each time Julia travels back, she becomes more enthralled with the past... until she realizes Mariana's life is eclipsing her own. She must lay the past to rest or risk losing the chance for happiness in her own time.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1402258671
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
The Splendour Falls

Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, France and promptly disappears―well, that's Harry for you.

As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, there was another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-1402258619
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
The Shadowy Horses

Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea...

The invincible ninth Roman Legion marches from York to fight the Northern tribes, and then vanishes from the pages of history. When Verity Grey goes looking for them in modern-day Scotland, she may find more than she bargained for.

Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it―not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept Scottish shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of the historical record. Or she may uncover secrets from the romantic past that were buried for a reason.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-1402258701
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Named of the Dragon

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its rich history, crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who's convinced that Lyn's recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose―and she's running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1402258640
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Season of Storms

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his romance with his muse, actress Celia Sands. But on the eve of the premiere, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.

Two generations later, Alessandro D'Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands―at the whim of her actress mother, or so she thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance―and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.

But the closer Celia gets to learning the fate of her predecessor, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2001
ISBN: 978-1402258732
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Every Secret Thing

Kate Murray is deeply troubled. In front of her lies a dead man, a stranger who only minutes before had spoken to her – about a mystery, a long-forgotten murder and, most worryingly, her grandmother. His story was old, he had told her, but still deserving of justice.

Soon Kate is caught up in a dangerous whirlwind of events that takes her back into her grandmother’s mysterious war-time past and across the Atlantic as she tries to retrace the dead man’s footsteps. 

Finding out the truth is not so simple, however, as only a few people are still alive who know the story…and Kate soon realizes that her questions are putting their lives in danger. Stalked by an unknown and sinister enemy, she must use her tough journalistic instinct to find the answers from the past in order to have a future.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-0749009014
The Rose Garden

After the death of her sister, Eva Ward leaves Hollywood and all its celebrities behind to return to the only place she feels she truly belongs, the old house on the coast of Cornwall, England. She's seeking comfort in memories of childhood summers, but what she finds is mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time.

Soon Eva discovers that the man, Daniel Butler, is very, very real and he draws her into a world of intrigue, treason, and love. Inside the old British house, begins to question her place in the present, she realizes she must decide where she really belongs: in the life she knows or the past she feels so drawn towards.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1402258589
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
A Desperate Fortune

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing―for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew―about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1492602026
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Secrets aren't such easy things to keep: It's late summer in 1759, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French-Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest.

As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to Lydia, the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde discovers that Jean-Philippe is a true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined.

Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind reveal the true story.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1492637134
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
The Deadly Hours

From 1733 Italy to Edinburgh in 1831 to a series of chilling murders in 1870 London, and a lethal game of revenge decades later, the watch touches lives with misfortune, until it comes into the reach of one young woman who might be able to stop it for good.

As much a book of curses as a book of destinies, The Deadly Hours is a breathtaking anthology rich with atmosphere and intrigue that encapsulates the exquisite destruction, heartbreak, and redemption wrought by fate.

This outstanding collaboration of authors includes:

Susanna Kearsley - New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of compelling time slip fiction.

C.S. Harris - USA Today bestselling author of the Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series.

Anna Lee Huber - award-winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries.

Christine Trent - author of the Lady of Ashes Victorian mystery series.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1492664444
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press


The Winter Sea

A hauntingly beautiful tale of love that transcends time: an American writer travels to Scotland to craft a novel about the Jacobite Rebellion, only to discover her own ancestral memories of that torrid moment in Scottish history...

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. When young Sophia Paterson travels to Slains Castle by the sea, she finds herself in the midst of the dangerous intrigue.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of that historic Scottish castle, she starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be the only living person who knows the truth—the ultimate betrayal—that happened all those years ago.

NB: This book is also known as Sophia's Secret.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1402241376
Publisher: Sourcebooks
The Firebird

Two Women. One Mysterious Relic. Historical fiction with romance, betrayal, and magic you'll never forget.

Art-dealer Nicola Marter was born with a gift so rare and dangerous, she kept it buried deep. When she encounters a desperate woman trying to sell a small wooden carving called "The Firebird," claiming it belonged to Russia's Empress Catherine, there's no proof.

But once Nicola holds the object, her buried talent gives her surprising insight. She knows the woman is telling the truth.

Trying to keep to her hard-won job, Nicola sets out to confirm the fascinating history of The Firebird with help from a man she never thought she'd see again.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1402276637
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
The Vanished Days

A story of espionage, loyalties divided, boundless courage and enduring love.

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.

Author: Susanna Kearsley
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1492650164
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark