Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

named-of-the-dragon-by-Susanna-KearsleyNamed of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley
Series: None
Genre: Historical Fiction (romance, mystery, suspense)
Setting: Wales (United Kingdom)
Published by Sourcebook, 2015 (originally published July 13, 1998)
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Oct 6, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
336 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: The invitation to spend Christmas in Angle, on the Pembrokeshire coast, is one that Lyn Ravenshaw is only too happy to accept. To escape London and the pressures of her literary agency is temptation enough, but the prospect of meeting Booker Prize nominee James Swift – conveniently in search of an agent – is the deciding factor.  On holiday she encounters the disturbing Elen Vaughan, recently widowed and with an eight-month-old son whose paternity is a subject for local gossip. Elen’s baby arouses painful memories of Lyn’s own dead child/ and strange, haunting dreams, in which a young woman in blue repeatedly tries to hand over her child to Lyn for safekeeping.

Who is the father of Elen’s baby? What is the eerie, monstrous creature of Elen’s dreams that tries to ensnare her son, and what makes her so sure that Lyn has been sent to protect him?  As she begins to untangle the truth behind the stories, the secret she discovers leads Lyn to an encounter with the past that will change her life forever.

Initial thoughts

  • I love the book! It takes place in Wales and at Christmas time. It’s magical!


  • Lyn’s baby died when he was born five years (before the book opens), but she has never recovered from that. I can only imagine how terrible it would be for a baby to die. I can certainly imagine her difficulty moving on.
  • She agrees to spend Christmas in Wales with one of her writer’s (Lyn’s a literary agent) with an enticement of signing another author. She’s dismayed when she arrives and discovers there’s a young mother with her year old baby staying nearby.
  • Lyn has nightmares about her baby nearly every night so she’s not surprised to have them in Wales, too. However, they have changed and include other people who talk about Merlin and his prophecies.
  • The book is historical fiction, romance, mystery, suspense and maybe a little paranormal all rolled into one. Susanna Kearsley’s books often have a paranormal aspect to them and this has a very slight part in the book. However, I’m not even sure it is paranormal.
  • Susanna Kearsley writes so well. I love her use of language, the love of writing which shows through and both the history and characters she writes about.
  • Her characters are well drawn so I feel I know them and would enjoy talking to them. We see through Lyn’s eyes and she has a clear eye–perhaps because she’s a literary agent. She sees the self-centered characters of Bridget, James and Christopher, but accepts them as they are. We get to know other characters, too: Gareth, a famous playwright whom she dislikes at first meeting; Owen and Dilys who take care of Castle Farm; Elen, the mother of Stevie the baby Lyn doesn’t want to see.
  • I’m always a sucker for animals so I like the cats, Chance the Jack Russell terrier and Sovereign the horse.
  • I like the bit of romance in the book as well as the mystery and suspense. I wasn’t even sure it really was mystery and suspense until the end!
  • The book takes place during Christmas and I love Christmas so that was also a plus for me! (Although it’s not a Christmas book per se–Christmas is not the focus of the book.)
  • I haven’t read many books set in Wales and especially with the atmosphere and history of the place I love the setting.


  • I’m not sure if there’s a paranormal plot line or not. I could argue either way, but it didn’t really matter to me. I love the book anyway!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is the third book I’ve ready by Ms. Kearsley and I’ve loved every one of them. With this book I can certainly see why she is sometimes compared to Mary Stewart. I read all of Mary Stewart’s books when I was a teenager and I loved them.
  • I thought it was so interesting to read at the end of the book that Castle Farm is a real place. Ms. Kearsley  even has photos of it at her website.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.
  • Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.
  • Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl