I just had to read this one twice before I could really say anything about it. There is just so much to this book, and the writing is just delicious!In the modern-day story, Nicola has a gift. She can touch objects and see into their pasts. However, she has always hidden this talent, wanting to fit into the world and not be a "freak." However, an encounter with an object given away by Tsarina Catherine, widow of Peter the Great, causes her to go out on a limb. Determined to authenticate it, she joins forces with a man from her past and they go to Russia in search of the past. Rob McMorran also has psychic gifts but he is more at ease with is unusual talents. This caused things to sour between him and Nicola in the past but as the two work together, they start to rediscover all the things they liked about each other in the first place.At the same time, through Nicola and Rob's investigation, we follow the trail of Anna Moray through Scotland and Belgium and eventually into Peter the Great's St. Petersburg. It's a fascinating tale of Jacobite intrigue, as well as family lost and found. Early 18th century continental Europe does not feature in many romantic novels and the stories found here are full of intrigue. Kearsley does a wonderful job of bringing Russia to life and even though this book is 500+ pages, I wanted to linger longer in Russia's expatriate community.In addition to the history, the characters in this book come to life on the page. The historical detail adds a lot to the book, but the emotional depth of the story gives it true richness. Kearsley deftly manages to weave two love stories(past and present) as well as tales of friendship and familial love into The Firebird and the end result is a truly unforgettable book. It takes a while to read this doorstopper of a book (twice!) but these are hours well spent.