Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bookish Thoughts: Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2012
Fiction; 432 pgs

I had never read Susanna Kearsley before, but I suddenly began seeing her name everywhere. Reading her most recent novel, The Shadowy Horses, was like a breath of fresh air.  I easily lost myself in the story, set on the coast in Scotland, in a small fishing town called Eyemouth.   Kearsley is one of those authors that can bring a setting to life, making the reader feel as if she or he was actually there.  I WANTED to be there the more I read.  
From the author's website: 

With its dark legends and passionate history, the windswept shores of Scotland are an archaeologist’s dream. Verity Grey is thrilled by the challenge of uncovering an ancient Roman campsite in a small village. But as soon as she arrives, she can sense danger in the air.


Her eccentric boss, Peter Quinnell, 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.

Surprisingly, Verity believes in Peter, and the boy, and even in the Sentinel, who seems determined to become her own protector...but from what?

Described by some as a Gothic romance, this ghostly tale is definitely one of love and faith with an air of mystery about it.  I liked how simple the love story was, how naturally it came together over the course of the novel, woven around the mystery of the ghost and the eerie goings on at the archeological dig.  

Verity Grey was easy to like and identify with.   She is smart and honest, thoughtful and adventurous.  She's certainly got her own opinions about things and is a skeptic at heart.  Still, she sees something in Peter Quinnell, the eccentric man behind the dig.  And I did too.  His charm was enough to convince me Verity should join his team to uncover an ancient Roman legion from the very first moment too.  His faith they would find what they sought, his trust in a boy with the second sight, never wavered--and I wanted, much like Verity, to believe him--to believe in him.

I enjoyed spending time with all of Kearsley's characters.  They were all unique in their own way.  I had my doubts about a couple, not quite warming to them, but others I fell in love with instantly--like David and his mother.  And, of course, Robbie, the young psychic.

The historical aspect of the novel was of particular interest to me and I found the details about the archaeological dig quite fascinating.  History has always appealed to me and it amazes me the things we can learn about the past thanks to archaeology   The town of Eyemouth itself has quite a history, some of it quite tragic.   

Shadowy Horses was a joy to read, and I look forward to reading more by Susanna Kearsley in the future.


Rating:  * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Susanna Kearsley and her books on the author's website.

Source: I received an e-copy of Shadowy Horses from the publisher for review.

© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

24 comments:

  1. If some describe it as a gothic romance then I'm in :) Likewise, I'd never heard of her before until reviews were everywhere. I love the mixture of mystery, ghosts and archaeology you discuss, it makes sense that the latter two would be put together a lot considering the stories you hear of disturbance.

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    1. Charlie - I hope you do read it. It's such a good book.

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  2. I've seen such good things about this book, and you have added an additional element of intrigue for me. I'd love to be able to find time to get to this one. I'm going to look into the audio format...

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    1. Sandy - I hope you can make time, Sandy. If you do listen to it, let me know what you think. With the right narrator, this one could be quite good in audio form.

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  3. I have heard great things about this authors work, and I do believe that I have one of her books on my Kindle. I like the sound of this and would love to read about the ghostly apparitions that seem to appear just where the dig site should be. Thanks for your great review, and for reviving my interest in this author. Off to do some digging!!

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    1. Heather - I downloaded a couple of her other books to try after reading this one. I couldn't resist. :-)

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  4. Sounds like my kind of read, ghostly but not too scary, thanks for recommending it.

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    1. Petty Witter - The book has a few suspenseful moments, but it really isn't scary--so I think you'd like it. :-)

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  5. I've been seeing her name a lot here lately too. It sounds like it's for good reason.

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    1. Kathy - She is a good writer. I am glad I took a chance on her.

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  6. I love seeing other people fall for Susanna Kearsley's books! She is one of my favourite authors and I tend to push her books on a lot of people!

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    1. Marg - I can see why you like her so much! I hope to read more by her in the near future.

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  7. Oh, yay! Like Marg, I feel a thrill when I see other bloggers discover her work. I loved The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden, and am hoping to read Mariana very soon. This one is on my wish list!

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    1. Carrie - I have The Rose Garden on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading it.

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  8. I am looking forward to Kearsley's new book in 2013!!

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  9. I keep hearing wonderful things about Susanna Kearsley and I always appreciate it when a romantic plot line happens organically. I love history and this book seems right up my alley. :)

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    1. Lindsey - Do try her, if you get the chance! It's such a good book.

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  10. I can't wait until I can dive into my copy! Maybe in the next week or two if I have time.

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    1. Alyce - I look forward to reading your thoughts on it when you review it!

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  11. The setting and the story are both appealing to me!

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    1. Kathleen - Me too! That's what drew me to the books in the first place. :-)

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  12. I loved this story so much and it was my first (but not last) Susanna Kearsley book. Did you see my review as I googled some images of the place and you know what, the authors descriptions were so good I was not surprised by what I saw in the pictures at all, it was exactly how I imagined it.

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    1. Caspette - I downloaded a couple more of her books and am looking forward to reading them. I loved the images you posted--and you're right, Kearsley's descriptions really do match the reality.

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