Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I've sailed away on a couple of novels recently and really enjoyed the voyage, so naturally I wanted to share them with all of you.
The first is called Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley, and you can bet I will be reading more of this author's work. A good historical novel is exactly my cup of tea, and this one happens to be set in Scotland during the early 1700s, a favorite era (and area) for me. What's more, this author blends her own characters with the real Jacobite players so seamlessly that I simply could not put the book down. She does complete justice to the details of an uprising that could have put Prince James (Stuart) on the throne while artfully taking the reader to a venue so enchanting and compelling that it becomes almost another character. Using the book-within-a-book technique, alternating between two time periods, and injecting a hint of the supernatural that still manages to be mostly believable, Susanna Kearsley creates what can only be called a refreshingly good read. I would compare her voice to Mary Stewart's, and that is no small tribute. Don't get me wrong, the novel isn't earth-shattering or life-changing. It is, however, as thoroughly enjoyable as the proverbial warm fire on a winter evening (with hot chocolate, whipped cream, and some good-smelling candles thrown in for effect). Even better, it's long! I still found myself wishing more pages would mysteriously appear as I reached the end.
The second book, by Susan Fraser King, is called Queen Hereafter and chronicles the reign of Margaret of Scotland, a medieval queen of compassion and intelligence. While historical details are limited, King remains as true to them as possible, adding delightful bits and pieces of story line to flesh out a foundation based in truth. This book has many colors and is at once light and a little bit broody. Even better, it entertains without becoming fluff or anything approaching it. In fact, Queen Hereafter is by turns moving, amusing, and somewhat unsettling, with a subtle magic all its own.
Both are on Kindle and probably at the library. If not, Barnes and Noble is a good bet. Whichever way you go, give these a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed!