Rated Reads

The Shadowy Horses

by Susanna Kearsley

Rated: Mild

Museum curator Verity Grey is introduced to a job opportunity in Scotland by an old boyfriend with whom she has stayed friendly. He tells her it’s “the perfect job,” and she can’t help but be intrigued. Since Adrian is involved, she figures it must be archaeological in nature, and as she ventures up to small-town Scotland from London, she is curious about the possibilities, especially since she knows almost nothing about what the job actually involves.

When she arrives in Eyemouth, she learns that it is a dig, and it’s headed up and funded by an older man named Peter Quinnell, who has long been considered something of a hack in the archaeological community. He is sure he has found the location of the final resting place of the Ninth Legion of the Roman army. It’s the “holy grail” of archaeological finds, Verity thinks, but it seems almost impossible. What’s even stranger is that a little further in to the job, she finds out that Peter has no concrete evidence for his conviction: he is doing all his work based on the “second sight” of a young boy.

Verity proceeds with the job and is skeptical about the boy’s second sight (and the number of logical, scientific people who seem to believe him), but little bits of proof seem to bear out his professions. Plus, there’s a ghost, a Sentinel from the Roman army, whose presence she can’t seem to deny either. It’s all too eerie, too strange. But the dig is interesting work, and Verity likes Peter. She also is drawn to one of the other researchers, whose good looks and manner are irresistible. But she’s already learned from Adrian that work-related romances are not a good idea.

The Shadowy Horses is a great blend of gothic elements, some romance, mystery, history, and just plain good story-telling. I enjoyed wondering what would come of the dig, the Sentinel, and the characters.

Rated: Mild, for occasional mild language and some brief, mild references to sex, though there are no details.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

One Response to The Shadowy Horses

  1. […] The Firebird is a wonderful historical novel that weaves two stories together, past and present, and explores the beauty and occasional heartbreak of romantic and familial love. The end, which pulled everything together after an involved 500-plus pages, was so completely satisfying that I didn’t want to close the book. Even better, the book is another clean one from Susanna Kearsley. Extra bonus is that readers get to spend more time with Rob, who was featured prominently as a boy with “second sight” in The Shadowy Horses. […]

  • The Shadowy Horses
  • by Susanna Kearsley
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: