Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Strange Scottish Shore - Historical Fiction Review

A Strange Scottish Shore (Emmeline True Love #2) by Julianna Gray (Amazon)

Rating: Good
Source: NetGalley

Description:  Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove, north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing, which, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea in ancient times and married the castle’s first laird.
But Haywood and Truelove soon discover they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide, and when their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, the mystery takes a dangerous turn through time, which only Haywood’s skills and Truelove’s bravery can solve…

Genre: Historical Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:   This sounded like a historical mystery with an archaeology element.

My Impression:  Well that was not what I was expecting!  Reading the blurb I was expecting a fairly straight forward historical mystery with maybe a little tough of magic.  Instead, what I got was a time travel fiction.  There's a slight problem here - I'm not a big fan of time travel fiction.  But since I recently discovered that Juliana Gray is also Beatriz Williams whose books I've really been enjoying lately, I kept reading.

I liked the characters.  Emmeline is quick on her feet, logical, but also in a bit of turmoil regarding her feelings for Silverton.  Max is less than enthused about his recent rise to dukedom, he's intensely loyal to Emmeline, as well as completely curious about just what is going on.   Silverton has the air of your typical good natured aristocratic rake but even at the beginning it's clear there is more to him and as the book goes on his character development is fascinating.

Then there's the plot.  This gets a little tricky because my issues with it are mostly personal preference.  The writing and pacing are fantastic and I think the time travel elements are very well done.  I did have some questions about the hows and whys that I don't think were fully explained though a few of the details are cleared up. I think the world building was also well done and the different time periods felt very different.   However, this wasn't the book I wanted it to be.  I loved the 1906 Scottish setting and really wanted to explore the mystery of just what was going on with the Selkie suit and this just really wasn't that.    Had I been better prepared for what it was I probably would have enjoyed it more though I'm not sure I would have requested it in the first place.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would certainly read more of this author under this name or Beatriz Williams but I probably wouldn't read more of this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like time travel books or more fantasy related stories I think you'd enjoy this.  Just don't go in expecting an Edwardian mystery.


  1. You know, I don't care much for time travel either. I do love Doctor Who, but that's about it when it comes to time travel. I'm sorry this wasn't quite what you were expecting.

  2. Fair comment. I do not mind time travel so I would be okay there. I haven't read BW writing as JG either so another reason to try. Sounds like lots to like and that's a positive.

  3. I like time travel though I came to the genre rather late in the day.

  4. Amazing cover! Love it. And the selkie angle is interesting, although yeah it doesn't look like that kind of book? I would expect a mystery too...

  5. I had no idea she was Beatriz Williams. I enjoy her books too!

  6. So I finished reading it this morning. I had the luxury of reading the first book last year so I knew what to expect in book 2. Really enjoyed this story and can't wait for another. I'd love if the next kept the team in Scotland!

  7. Interesting! From the cover, I would totally not expect this to be a time travel book. I think I'll still check it out, but I'm glad you warned me not to expect what I would have expected :)