“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.
Although it goes against her workaholic nature, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw lets herself be whisked off to Wales for the Christmas holidays by her star client, flamboyant children’s author Bridget Cooper. She suspects Bridget has ulterior motives, but the lure of South Wales with its castles and myths is irresistible. Perhaps a change of scene will bring relief from the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her child.
Lyn immerses herself in the peace and quiet of the charming Welsh village, but she soon meets an eccentric young widow who’s concerned her baby son is in danger—and inexplicably thinks Lyn is the child’s protector.
Lyn’s dreams become more and more disturbing as she forms a surprisingly warm friendship with a reclusive, brooding playwright, and is pulled into an ancient world of Arthurian legend and dangerous prophecies. Before she can escape her nightmares, she must uncover the secret of her dreams, which is somehow inextricably located in a time long ago and far away…
I’m a big fan of Susanna Kearsley’s books, but this one was only a so-so read for me. Named of the Dragon is one of the author’s earlier books (originally published 1998), reissued by Sourcebooks in 2015 with a gorgeous cover to match all the rest of her beautiful volumes. The story itself held my attention, but barely. Set in Wales, it’s the story of a literary agent who agrees to spend Christmas with her top client in order to woo another bestselling author, and ends up getting caught up in a local woman’s domestic crisis. There’s a running theme of Welsh legends and Arthurian symbolism… and no Susanna Kearsley novel would be complete without romance, especially with a brooding, seemingly unreachable and mysterious man.
The Arthurian bits and the dream symbolism struck me as overwrought in this book, and mostly unnecessary to the main focus of the plot. These elements add a hint of the gothic and supernatural, yet come across as densely written and somewhat distracting. Lyn herself did not strike me as a believable character — her professional status seemed unrealistic to me, and the whole setting of the Christmas holiday with her client and her clients’ friends felt a bit forced.
Named of the Dragon is not a bad read in the least, but it doesn’t reach the heights of some of the author’s best works, and perhaps that’s why I experienced it as a letdown.
Title: Named of the Dragon
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication date: Reissued October 6, 2015 (originally published 1998)
Length: 336 pages