Welcome to my review of Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley. A richly atmospheric story, laden with connections to a classic Tennyson poem, this is a curl up by the fire and read sort of book. With light on, always.
I’ve read a couple of Kearsley titles, and I love them for the atmospheric escape that they bring, evocative prose allows you to exist with the characters within the setting. In this title, set in Wales is liberally sprinkled with Arthurian legend, paranormal spooky moments, and a clear correlation between Gareth and Lyn (in this story) with the couple, Sir Gareth and Lynnette from Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King. You don’t have to have a familiarity with either element to enjoy the journey, but the references are easier to spot, and are richer for the knowing.
Lyn is a literary agent with a star children’s book author, Bridget. Bridget is more than the stereotypical spoilt star, she’s rather annoying most of the time, then does or says something that has you wondering just why you were annoyed. A bit of a trial though, and Lyn’s rather passive approach to antics that are far from acceptable made this friendship a bit one sided. Fortunately, we have other townsfolk, some strange dreams and a touch of romantic interest mixed in, that give the story some body beyond focusing on Bridget and Lyn.
Enter Gareth, a bit of a recluse, difficult and purposefully abrasive, the attraction between he and Lyn is an odd one, more hinted at then actually consummated, and often falling to the background when strange happenings and stranger dreams start to become more prevalent and important. A bit of a mix in the combinations: Arthurian legends, Tennyson’s poem and the events in the current day would have shown stronger, for me, had this been more of a time-slip / travel inclusion, even as there were distinct parallels in many moments. While those didn’t work as well for me, the whole concept, placed against the wonderful description and details of the setting, bringing in a tone that varies from grey and rainy to actually a spookier sort of gloom works together to keep me reading.
While not my favorite, there is enough here to escape and shiver along for several hours, and the intersections of current, past, legend and place all create an atmospheric read from start to finish.
Title: Named of the Dragon
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published on: 6 October, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 35 minutes
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The invitation to spend Christmas in Angle, on the Pembrokeshire coast, is one that Lyn Ravenshaw is only too happy to accept. To escape London and the pressures of her literary agency is temptation enough, but the prospect of meeting Booker Prize nominee James Swift - conveniently in search of an agent - is the deciding factor.
On holiday she encounters the disturbing Elen Vaughan, recently widowed and with an eight-month-old son whose paternity is a subject for local gossip. Elen's baby arouses painful memories of Lyn's own dead child/ and strange, haunting dreams, in which a young woman in blue repeatedly tries to hand over her child to Lyn for safekeeping.
Who is the father of Elen's baby? What is the eerie, monstrous creature of Elen's dreams that tries to ensnare her son, and what makes her so sure that Lyn has been sent to protect him?
As she begins to untangle the truth behind the stories, the secret she discovers leads Lyn to an encounter with the past that will change her life forever.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.