Written by Susanna Kearsley, Named of the Dragon follows Lyn, a literary agent, on her Christmas trip down to Wales with her client Bridget. What should be a relaxing vacation while trying to score a new author turns into a stress filled week as Lyn is reminded of what she has lost and find herself somehow held responsible for the safety of a stranger’s baby.
Walking away from the normal Jacobite stories that the historical side usually take in Kearsley’s novels, this book actually deals with Arthurian legend, and how it echos throughout the Welsh culture. This novel also strives to point out how Wales is unique from the rest of the UK.
Okay, down to the writing. This novel was honestly less engaging, and I think that has a lot to do with the way the dream sequences were handled. They would just happen, but didn’t really reflect throughout the rest of the novel as similar instances have in Kearsley’s other writings.
As for how the characters were written, I enjoyed James, Christopher, and Gareth, all well written men whose characters clearly reflected out. Bridget, on the other hand, I just didn’t enjoy. She was a loose cannon that made no sense as a character. She is one of the least flushed out characters I have read by Kearsley. Which is to say she is still better than many others, but she was so flat. She cared about Christmas and she liked men who weren’t interested in her. She had been married twice already. She liked Lyn but would easily get jealous of her, despite the number of men who were interested in her. I understand her character, but I just wanted her to actually grow and she didn’t.
Overall, this was still a good book, but a bit boring. A decent mystery woven into the story makes this an easy read.
I liked Gareth, but I wanted more of him. This is one novel where the clear romance was front and center, but it wasn’t at the center of the plot. And I think that is why this one falls short of her other books, because the love interest/the romance itself usually plays a bigger role. Or, perhaps, that is just what I have come to expect from her novels.
The other characters did have that, character, but Gareth was by far the most interesting – I am guessing that they must have interacted through competitions somehow before she left the world of horses – and the fact that, at the end, he went all the way to London for her. He was willing to put his life aside for her, which is one of the first times in this novel where one person (especially the man) left his place/land/time for the girl. Clearly he doesn’t like it, and in the long run I think they would return to Wales, but still.
Again, I enjoyed this novel immensely.