Copyright 1995 by Christopher Leadem.
the rough stones and wooden bracings. Herbs, tools and utensils, bizarre talismans hung from the walls. The floor was of solid earth. A wooden table and chair, two frameless beds, an ancient rocking chair---there were no other furnishings.
"Sit by the fire, child, and wrap a blanket around you. I'll have the tea....." But studying her face more closely, the old woman put a hand to her forehead, and could not entirely suppress a look of concern. "Into bed with you, Mary, you're burning with fever." And she quickly arranged warm coverings for the thin, down mattress, which lay on a jutting shelf of stone covered with straw, and threw more wood on the fire.
Soon the room was warm, and in its primitive way, quite comfortable. Mary lay in the bed, her shivering stopped, and the herb tea that her aunt had given her calming her nerves. But still there were the questions that would not rest.
"Aunt Margaret," she began pensively, eyes glittering. "You quarreled with mother, and now she can bear her cross no l
A good story.
I really liked this one, though it isn't (as the heading reads) post-1930. It's set in 18th Century Scotland, a beautiful and tragic time if you know your history.
Anyway, it starts with Mary Scott, 17 years old, searching for the ghost of her brother, killed at the epic Battle of Culloden. Her mother, a Druid witch, has other plans for her. Her father (unbeknownst to himself or her) is the English overlord. Once he discovers her existence, he clearly can't allow it.
There's an internal mystery I can't reveal or it will take away a lot of the book's appeal. Let's just say it's not unlike a certain incident in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," to which it has a similar feel.
Mary is captured by her father, and placed in the highest cell of his castle tower. Two men, an Englishman and a Highlander, who would otherwise hate each other, are determined to rescue her.
It kept me going, and guessing, all the way. My only complaint is that I wanted more. But if you like short novels (I do), this one's tough to beat.
I'm glad the publisher chose to call this an historical novel, rather than historical romance. While it is certainly romantic in nature, it is not the silly, predictable historical romance so prevalent today. Instead it incorporates elements of history, mystery and the occult to keep the reader guessing, most of all, to keep them turning the pages.
I read the book in one night in spite of myself. I had to know who was really who, who alive, who dead. That in part one. In part two, characters revealed, it becomes more of the classic Gothic novel, a lovely young woman in distress, the good man (and the bad, interestingly enough) trying to save her.
Without ruining the ending, I think you'll find it as interesting, compelling and ultimately satisfying as I did. Could have been a little longer, but even that adds to the drama and excitement. Personally, I was to find out what else he's written. Two more titles here that I'll have to check out.
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