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review 2017-07-06 01:39
Thoughts: The Shadowy Horses
The Shadowy Horses - Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses

by Susanna Kearsley

 

 

The Invincible Ninth Roman Legion Marches from York to Fight The Northern Tribes. and then Vanishes from the Pages of History.

Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.

Her eccentric boss 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.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time.  Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.

 

 

To start off, I just wanted to point out that, for my own reasons, I like the paperback book cover more than the Kindle version book cover featured above.  The image of a house on what looks like rocky cliffs, on a background of mist and darkness gives a much better sense of a Gothic, ghostly setting than the one of a woman's silhouette walking amidst a vague background that might be grasslands and clouds.

Anyway, moving along now onto the actual review...

The Shadowy Horses was a very interesting and great read.  It is written well, and the imagery Kearsley creates with her vivid descriptions are pretty wonderful.  They make you feel like you're right there with Verity, walking the fishing docks and the museum, or rushing through the rainy moors, or looking out her bedroom window in the middle of the night, listening to the sound of galloping hooves.

This book is extremely well written.

It also helps that the story has a very attractive premise that caught my attention immediately.

I've always been interested in archaeology, historical locales, creepy old mansions, and ghostly happenings (as much as I don't like horror).  Put all of this together, with a wandering ghostly Sentinel, and shadowy horses, with an ominous legend, that gallop in the middle of the night, and you've got really well outlined Ani-bait.

The characters weren't too shabby either, each exhibiting their own unique personalities.  I tried really hard to imagine all the different accents, with all of our main characters prominently English, Scottish, and Irish--this would probably a great book to listen to in audio given the perfect narrator.  And it looks like I learned a little bit of Scots as well, and am interested in picking up my own Scots dictionary.

The Shadowy Horses is also chock full of little history lessons, and a couple of mythical legends that I loved!  It certainly added onto the atmosphere.

Story-wise, however, I couldn't help but notice that, to be honest, a whole lot of nothing happens in this book.  There is a lot of day-to-day banality that seemed to drag on as we awaited each dig day to find something, rolled over into the night to hear the shadowy horses, then went into town for personal reasons.  The ghostly haunting by the lone, wandering Sentinel isn't as creepily bone-chilling as I'd expected--the purpose for his presence was fairly predictable, and it doesn't take a five-year-old psychic to tell you as much.  The first introduction of the shadowy horses had promise, but I kept feeling like there should have been more to it than just hearing them galloping each night.

There was very little build up to the main conflict of the book, which is evident when the conflict pops up at the end and I didn't even realize there was such a serious conflict to begin with.  And the fact that when the conflict DOES come up, there was no question about how everything would resolve; no surprise twists or anything presented.

All-in-all, I suppose I was kind of expecting a bit more, probably because of the strong start the book gives us.

To be fair, this isn't Susanna Kearsley's most popular work, and I think is one of her first few books written.  It's just the first one that caught my attention, both with the premise and the paperback cover of the creepy looking mansion (see above).  I wouldn't mind continuing to explore more work by Kearsley in the near future, if anyone's got some recommendations, though; because I most definitely will keep her on my radar.

Overall, The Shadowy Horses was a quite sort of entertainment, and I enjoyed myself, even if I felt like something was missing from this novel.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #24:
Book is tagged 'gothic' on GR; summary includes mentions of ghostly sightings.

Page Count:  430
Cash Award:  $10.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $147

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/thoughts-shadowy-horses.html
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review 2017-03-27 17:29
Il giardino delle rose
Il giardino delle rose (Leggereditore) - Susanna Kearsley,Chiappa Caterina

Primo libro di questa autrice, la quale mi ha letteralmente conquistata. 

Manca mezza stellina al massimo solo perché all'inizio l'ho trovato un po' lento, ma poi la storia mi ha preso tantissimo fino a un finale che ha avuto anche un po' di inaspettato.

 

E' un romanzo storico, è un romanzo fantasy ed è un romanzo rosa. 

Mentre lo leggevo, addentrandomi negli splendidi paesaggi della Cornovaglia, mi dava un senso di calma e serenità , inoltre il viaggio nel tempo è stato un ottimo modo per conoscere gli usi e la storia inglese dei primi del '700. 

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review 2017-03-23 18:40
Okay Book to Pass the Time
Season of Storms - Susanna Kearsley

I don't have anything clever to say. I honestly thought this was an okay book to pass the time with. I wasn't feeling well and didn't have a lot of mental energy to get myself worked up over reading something and this book fit the bill nicely. Was it exciting? Not really. Can I recall everyone's names? Nope. Did everything make sense? No, no it didn't. But I still enjoyed it because it was like being rocked to sleep in a hammock.

 

I read Kearsley years ago and fell in love with the time travel aspect of that book. This book has ghosts, kind of sort of, and flashbacks that didn't really add one thing to the book. 

 

Celia Sands goes to Italy to star in a play that another woman with her same name was to star in, in the 1920s. Unfortunately, that Celia Sands disappeared, never to be seen again, and the play was haunted for years with unfortunate circumstances. 

 

Image result for the scottish play macbeth gif

 

No, not that play. 

 

Ceila goes to Venice, Italy with her godfather(?) who is going to be directing.  I don't know. I am still puzzled by that relationship. Celia gets to Venice and after a few rough minutes of not liking the city, instantly falls in love with it. She and her godfather also meet another person who will be involved with the play and then all of them eventually make their way to a villa where the initial playwright lived and wrote his play for the first Celia. 

 

The synopsis drew me in at first. But honestly the book just goes from scene to scene with no sense of urgency at all. Celia is pulled between two men. She tries to deny her interest in one of them. She grows closer to an older actress that is also going to be in the play, etc. 


The character of Celia (present day) doesn't draw you in at all and neither does the Celia we get in flashback form via another character. I wish that Kearsley had given that Celia her own POV since that would have maybe worked a bit better. I was wondering who this woman was that she gave up everything to be with a malcontent older man who was not free to be with her. When we finally find out what happened to past Celia I seriously went, well of course. 

 

I can't really speak about the other characters since I found them all to be pleasant, but boring. There is no real intrigue though Kearsley throws in a random murder. You can tell the good guys from the bad guys pretty easily. I think she thought she could throw readers a bit, but this is not my first romance. 

 

Besides the first part of the book with Celia in Venice, nothing else felt very Italian. In fact, a few times I found myself wondering if was reading one of my art histories books. The text really didn't match what I think Kearsley was going for at all. 

 

I found myself pretty much yawning when we get to the end that didn't really explain a lot of things. I really wish that Kearsley had upped the supernatural elements or nixed them entirely. I didn't know what this book wanted to be.   

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text 2017-03-23 00:41
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Season of Storms - Susanna Kearsley

Not terribly exciting but okay to pass the time with.

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text 2017-03-02 15:23
February Reading Round Up
Martyr - Rory Clements
Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters
For the Most Beautiful - Emily Hauser
The Splendour Falls - Susanna Kearsley

Nobody is more surprised than I am at my start to the reading year. After the way I finished 2016, I thought for sure 2017 was going to be the same struggle. Fortunately I have found some excellent new authors and characters to keep me motivated to read in 2017. February was another month of discoveries and fantastic reading. 

 

I did not quite meet all of my set February goals but considering I had less reading time, I think I still did pretty well. 

 

New Characters:

John Shakespeare  

-I have most of Rory Clements' John Shakespeare (Yes, that Shakespeare but not  that  Shakespeare.) in my Kindle library. They tend to come up on monthly deals quite a bit. I may have said this before but I'm going to say it again. Rarely do I really like the first novel in a series. This novel was a rare exception. I'm always on the lookout for something comparable to C.J. Sansom's Shardlake novels. I like Tudor-era mysteries that gloss over the glitz and glamour of court life and immerse the reader in the gritty back alley politics. Clements manages to capture that atmosphere with his slightly naive Shakespeare. I look forward to spending more time getting to know Shakespeare and wandering around in his Elizabethan world. 

 

 Amelia Peabody 

-I don't even know where to begin with this wonderful Victorian "spinster". From the first few pages where Amelia is referring to typhoid as a disease weak minded people get to the end where she is running around planning on how she is going to get her hands on a pair of pants, Amelia had me in stitches. I am going to need to make space on a bookshelf for more adventures from Amelia and friends. 

 

New Authors

 Emily Hauser 

- For the Most Beautiful is one of the best books I have read all year. It is going to take some pretty intense competition to bump this book off of my end of the year top 10. Like the title suggests, this book was beautiful. Hauser takes the battle of Troy and tells the story from the perspective of the women on the front lines. I knew within 20 pages, this was a book meant to be devoured in one sitting. By the end I was crying. Crying because of the inevitable fates of many of the characters. Crying because it was over. Crying because I have to wait until June to read any more of Hauser's work. 

 

 Susanna Kearsley 

-Several of my reading friends have suggested that  The Splendour Falls  is one of Kearsley's weakest novels. If this is what Kearsley's worst looks like, I'm dying to see what her best is like. Again, I think I'm going to need more bookshelf space.

 

Other Thoughts

-The latest collection of published short stories by J.K. Rowling found its way to my Kindle this month. I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. I am not-so-patiently waiting for the day my girls are finally big enough to have Harry Potter buddy reads with me. Any time J.K. Rowling announces she has released new writing, I am like a kid a Christmas. My excitement really needs to stop. I was terribly disappointed in  The Cursed Child. My levels of disappointment with these short stories was not on that level, but I was disappointed none the less. These stories are advertised as delving deeper into the world of Harry Potter. That might be the case for the casual fan. However, for avid Harry Potter fans, the stories don't really add anything to the existing Harry Potter universe. The one thing I found interesting in these short stories was Rowling's own commentary. I really enjoyed the inside look at what went into Rowling's writing. She didn't just make up words. There was a reason for everything word she wrote. 

 

Hopefully March provides me with more quality reading! 

 

 

 

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