Book Review: Named of the Dragon
By: Susanna Kearsley
Published By: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
* Note: This is the reissue edition.
Page Count: 336
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Adult - Fantasy
Lyn Ravenshaw is a literary agent in London who hasn't had the best few years. Her husband who was less than her perfect match and preferred a bottle of booze to her company, dies in a car accident. Soon after, Lyn's infant son, Justin, dies at birth. The grief and disappointment are almost too much for one person to bear, but somehow Lyn manages to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
As the holidays approach, Lyn makes plans to join her family at her brother's new home in Canada, but one of her clients and good friends, Bridget, has other plans. She wants Lyn to come with her to Angle, a small coastal town in Wales for Christmas. Bridget's latest beau, James, has invited them to enjoy the holidays in a relaxing small village. Lyn is hesitant, but James' status as one of the hottest novelists on the market and much pleading from Bridget convinces Lyn to forsake her original plans to spend a holiday in Wales.
I admit that I know virtually nothing about Wales or its history. The little I do know are tidbits my husband has passed along after watching Torchwood and Doctor Who and declaring that visiting Cardiff is on his wishlist. I did a little research to see what he was blathering about and decided that Cardiff did look intriguing. I was interested to see how the Wales setting would impact the plot of this novel.
I learned a vast amount about the culture and history of Wales while reading this. I also now have a list of more things to research. This country is intriguing and has an air of magic. I found the setting enhanced the story and kept me rooted in Lyn's story while providing vivid imagery.
In addition to the setting, the plot was intriguing. There are the things happening in the real world and then occurrences in Lyn's dream world which swirls with elements of Arthurian Legend and the prophecies of Merlin. In her dreams, a young woman in blue begs Lyn to be the protector of her son. The young woman fears the dragon will take him. Lyn knows the dreams sound crazy, but when she meets Elen and her young son, Stevie, she begins to wonder if her dreams might be impacting the present. I loved the merging of the reality and fantasy in this one.
The characters are another strength of this novel. I loved the Darcy and Elizabeth sort of relationship that springs up between Lyn and Gareth, the brooding local playwright. Their interactions were equally frustrating and satisfying. I loved that Lyn never allowed Gareth to intimidate her. They are both strong willed and stubborn which made for some interesting conversations. I couldn't help rooting for them to end up together. This is not a romance so their relationship development does not take center stage. I won't tell you if I got my wish, but this is worth the read to meet them both.
My one complaint was the resolution of the major tension point. I was hoping for something a bit different and more dramatic.
All in all, I loved this one. It was a nice way to pass the time and be transported on a mental holiday to Wales. I have added several other titles from this author to my TBR list. Her historical knowledge, character development, and strong writing make her a must read again for me. I highly recommend reading this one around Christmas time if you want to add a little paranormal intrigue to your holidays.
One Last Gripe: I was frustrated by Bridget's treatment of James from time to time.
Favorite Thing About This Book: The setting
First Sentence: The dream came, as it always did, just before dawn.
Favorite Character: Lyn
Least Favorite Character: Christopher
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.