2015 Book 318: NAMED OF THE DRAGON by Susanna Kearsley

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley
ISBN: 9781402258640 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781402258657 (ebook)
ASIN: B00VGY4RA8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 6, 2015 (Originally published in 1997)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark


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.

Lynette Ravenshaw is a widowed literary agent in London, presumed to still be grieving the loss of her son during childbirth. At the request of one of the authors she represents, Bridget Cooper, she decides to head to Wales for the Christmas holidays. They will be staying with an award-nominated author looking for a new agent. What she doesn’t know is that Bridget is looking to seduce a local playwright and only wants Lyn to accompany her for the express purposes of keeping company with their host in Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley.

Bridget Cooper is a popular author with a reputation of being difficult. Lynette, or Lyn, has been Bridget’s agent for four years, and although she finds Bridget taxing at times she actually likes her. It is primarily for this reason that she decides to forego her family’s Christmas in Canada and travels to Wales for the holiday with Bridget. Unbeknownst to either of them, the next door neighbor to their host is also widowed and with an infant son. Elen Vaughan might be considered flighty or taken with flights of fancy, but she thinks she’s heard the voice of Merlin and dreams that the “white dragon” from the local tower is after her son. Being exposed to an infant is difficult enough for Lyn, but her dreams seem to be mirrors of Elen’s dreams. Is this the reason that Elen has latched onto Lyn as the one meant to save her son? 

Named of the Dragon is a reprint of an older title by Ms. Kearsley and I’m glad it’s back in print. This particular story takes elements of Arthurian legend and Merlin’s prophecies, mixed with the history of the Tudor family, specifically Henry VII, into a modern story of a fatherless son, a whimsical mother sworn to protect her child, and the mystery surrounding his paternity. Added into the mix is the friendship between Lyn and the local playwright, Bridget’s quest to seduce the local playwright, and the author hosting their holiday visit plans to romance Bridget. Yes, it does sound deliciously twisted, but Ms. Kearsley takes these twists and provides a delightful story that borders on being gothic. I found this to be a fast-paced read and was only slowed down by several severe migraine headaches. (I hated putting Named of the Dragon aside, but since it was difficult to hold my head upright I allowed the migraine to override my reading preference.) I enjoyed the history, folklore, and legends provided in the story, as well as the romance and intrigue. If you’ve never read anything by Ms. Kearsley then Named of the Dragon is a good place to start. If you’ve read any of her current works, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Named of the Dragon. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, I look forward to reading more from Ms. Kearsley in the future. 

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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