Mini-Review: “The Shadowy Horses” by Susanna Kearsley

the shadowy horses susanna kersley

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini-Review: “The Shadowy Horses” by Susanna KearsleyThe Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Published: 2012 Genres: Fiction (General), Horror/Gothic
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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In Susanna Kearsley’s The Shadowy Horses, an archaeologist named Verity Grey takes a job in the Scottish countryside.  She’s been hired by an eccentric old man who believes that they will dig up evidence of a lost Roman legion on the property.  Of course, his only evidence is that a psychically gifted youth claims to have seen the ghost of a Roman soldier wandering around the property, and that evidence isn’t particularly likely to stand up in the academically community.  The archaeologists have a short window to discover something before they become a laughingstock, but Verity is caught by the excitement and learns to suspend her own disbelief as she falls in love with Scottish life (and a certain Scottish man).

I’m not going to go super in-depth on this review, because I finished it before Christmas and am just now getting around to writing about it.  Instead, I’ll stick with some general impressions.

The Shadowy Horses was a slow read, but in a leisurely meandering way.  Like many gothic novels, it’s all about the atmosphere, and Kearsley does a fantastic job of creating it.  Even though the book has a contemporary setting, the remoteness of the location gives a feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world, despite access to telephones and slow internet connections.  You get to luxuriate in Kearsley’s descriptions of the landscape, the people, the local history and overall culture of living in a small town, and even though the pacing felt a bit slow, I was never in danger of putting the book down.  I wanted to see if Verity would find her Roman legion, and I was so charmed by Eyemouth that I hoped Verity would choose to make it her home instead of a temporary stopping point in her career.

Many of the books that I’ve been reading lately are action-packed adventures, and The Shadowy Horses was a welcome change of pace.  I’d certainly be willing to pick up another Kearsley novel if the opportunity arises.

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