The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its 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.
Sissy: There is no question in my mind that Susanna Kearsley is one of the best writers out there, and while Named of the Dragon is not my very favorite of her books, it is still better than most other people’s books, so what does that tell you?
Bubby: What it tells you is that there’s a reason I own all her books. I’ve seen Susanna Kearsley compared to the fantastic Mary Stewart several times and I have to agree – there are a lot of similarities, especially in the quality of the storytelling. Sissy knows that Mary Stewart was one of the authors that defined my childhood. Both my mom and I read everything by her that we could get our hands on. When it comes to atmospheric stories with just a bit of spine-tingling and goose-bump causing, she’s the master. But Kearsley is giving her a run for the title! I loved the historical references in Named of the Dragon. I’ve always been a Merlin/King Arthur/Camelot fanatic and the tie-ins here are done so well.
Sissy: What are you talking about, you and Mom? I was the original Mary Stewart lover, thank you. The setting of South Wales, in Named of the Dragon, is fabulous and conjures up in one’s mind the exact feelings needed for one to be completely drawn into the story. The interesting thing about heroine Lyn and the other characters was that they weren’t immediately lovable to me but as I got to know them, flaws and all, my affection definitely grew.
Bubby: I agree with you there, Sissy. Sometimes I connect with characters right away, especially the main protagonists, but not so in this case. I think that only helped the story though, because it was an accurate reflection of how the characters felt about each other. Local playwright Gareth is the best example for me – he has a certain “Mr. Darcy” feel to him, where he is so standoffish in the beginning.
Sissy: I can’t believe you just did that. I was going to talk about Gareth. You are a complete blog-hog.
Bubby: Blog-hog? I kinda like that.
Sissy: Well you are. But I’ll forgive you, maybe, if you give me dinner. As Bubby said, Gareth turns out to be surprisingly different than you might think at first. The two brothers, James and Christopher, threw me a little as well, and as for “whodunnit”, (yes, there’s a mystery, just not a murder one) I never saw that coming. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the touch of paranormal that is characteristic of Kearsley’s writing. It may have taken on a different form in Named of the Dragon than the last book of hers that I read, but it satisfied my spooky need. All in all, another excellent read from Susanna Kearsley.
Bubby: Lest you be fooled by the somewhat lukewarm nature of our words so far, let me assure that Named of the Dragon is well worth your time to read. The characters’ flaws all resolve nicely and the mystery (which I didn’t predict either) is so good. Besides which, it’s in Wales. And I’m not. So anything that makes me feel like I’m there is great! Susanna Kearsley is a phenomenal word artist and I can’t wait for her next book.
Click HERE to buy Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley