While August here in the UK hasn’t been cold. It sadly hasn’t always been glorious sunshine either. During a spell of wet and dreary weather I reached for The Shadowy Horses by, one of my comfort read favourites, Susanna Kearsley.
This time Kearsley swept me away to Eyemouth, a small fishing community, on the rugged and windswept coast of Scotland. Up on the grounds of Rosehill manor a small group of archaeologists are excavating to find a completely, unknown Roman marching camp. The group is led by eccentric Peter Quinnell. Who for most of his career has been obsessed with discovering what happened to the lost Ninth Legion. Many of his contemporaries think Quinnell is mad, however this time he is sure. After a young, local boy saw a ghostly Roman soldier marching across the fields.
Our protagonist is Verity Grey (great name) a renowned archaeologist and historian. Who comes up from London to join the excavation. Verity has no idea what she is getting herself into. Not being one to believe in ghosts or the supernatural. She however finds herself liking and believing Quinnell and the boy. Perhaps because on her very first night at Rosehill. She heard horses running in the field below her bedroom window. Only to discover there are no horses on the estate! I enjoyed reading about Verity, she is a likeable, and the ever-increasing spooky experiences. Verity is joined by eccentric Quinnell, his glamorous niece Fabia, fellow archaeologists David and Adrian (an old flame!), the boy Robbie, and his parents Jeannie and Brian, and grandpa Wally. There are some really interesting relationships and secrets between these characters to discover.
This is now the 4th novel I have read by Susanna Kearsley. My last read, Mariana, was earlier this year. I particularly love Kearsley’s writing style which I find just so comforting and familiar, like a favourite jumper. After a few pages I was lost in another fascinating tale of life, love and history. This isn’t a dual time period novel like previous reads, however it is still full of history with the archaeological dig which is woven with the mystery of the lost Ninth Legion. I loved all the archaeological details. As a little girl I wanted to be an archaeologist, and to this day I am still obsessed with watching Time Team and other documentaries. There is also a link back to the past through local historical tales and the ghostly Roman soldier. I’m not sure the mystery of the lost legion is completely solved here, perhaps that’s for the best, it was a nice ending though.
The Shadowy Horses was a capturing tale for me. I was immersed in the love, history and mystery of it all. I highly recommend and I look forward to reading more by Kearsley. I have Season of Storms and Named of the Dragon on my to-be-read pile. Great read.
Have you read this? Have you read any of Susanna Kearsley’s other novels?
10 Books of Summer – 5/10