The Shadowy Horses

Susanna Kearsley


I love me a good time-slip novel, and Susanna Kearsley writes some of the best. This one involves an archeological dig of a site that may have belonged to the lost IX legion. Since no one has any idea where the IX Legion served, southern Scotland is as likely as anywhere. This particular site is a private dig, paid for by a wealthy man. His grandson sees and hears things that may be Latin, and an individual he calls the Sentinel.

This is the framework for this romance between a female archeologist and a local man, and seeing how they work it all out is part of the fun of a Kearsley novel.



The Bride

Julie Garwood


This is the kind of romance that makes people say ‘I could write that.’ If they actually try, they find is isn’t quite as easy as it looks. Garwood’s gift for dialogue and tight (if ridiculous) plotting isn’t easy to reproduce.

Jamie Jamison, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison, is sold as bride to Alec Kincaid for reasons. Her sister is sold to Alec’s sidekick Daniel Ferguson at the same time, but you needn’t bother much about her. The author certainly doesn’t. She make an appearance now and then, but mostly she’s just set dressing. Oh, yes, Jamie was previously sold to an English nobleman. Remember that because it comes into the plot later. Jamie doesn’t have to worry about it because she knows nothing about it.

Anyhow, Jamie hates Alec in spite of being hugely attracted to him. He comes to her home and although her father (for whom she waits on hand and foot) tries to keep her hidden because he had already sold her to someone else. Alas, Alec sees her and picks her for his bride. The get married that afternoon and start off for Scotland. She is put off by the stories about him that he killed first wife by throwing her off a cliff. Or maybe he beat her to death. Whatever, he did something bad to his first wife.

After several adventures, Jamie endears herself to one and all by her healing ability. Everyone loves her in spite of her Englishness except the person who is trying to kill her. First a fire breaks out in a hut she is trapped in by a barred door and things go downhill from there. On the other hand, things are going well with Alec. There is a lot of misunderstanding between them because of culture differences, but they manage to overcome them.

This being a romance, love conquers all. Jamie endears herself to one and all by the end when the English nobleman (remember him?) comes to collect her, all the Scots throw their jewels at his feet to make up for the money he paid for her.

This all sound unbelievable, and it is. Yet, there is something pleasant about losing oneself in the competent hands of an able writer. She manages to weave all the threads of plot and subplots into a tight chain of story. Sit down, put up your feet and loose yourself in the fantasy that is The Bride.