A Strange Scottish Shore: Emmaline Truelove #2. Juliana Gray. Penguin Publishing Group. September 2017. 400 pp. ISBN#: 9780425277089.
To begin with, note that there is a selection from an old tome, The Book of Time, before each chapter, telling the tale of a Scottish selkie, who rose from the sea in ancient times and married the Lord of a Castle, had two lovely children but who was swayed to return to her former marine life. Each section parallels the unfolding action in this tale in which it is 1906 which begins with a selkie suit being found. Maximilian Haywood and Emmeline Truelove have traveled to the past to solve other mysteries. Now they discover that their friend, Lord Silverton, has disappeared as well as another mysterious, very suspicious character.
The majority of the action in this novel takes place in the 1300s in a small Scottish country town with a man named Max and of course, Lord Silverton and Emmeline who are transported to that error. It turns out that Silverton has already been there for three years. Emmeline, on the other hand, has quite a period of adjustment to the language, dress, food, and Silverton’s acceptance that he will never return to his former 20th Century life.
Emmeline is quickly accepted and her initial balking at Silverton’s declaration of undying love is slowly eroded and their fiery romance takes off like a rocket. Emmeline, however, believes she has been sent here to complete a mission and that is what gradually evolves. It’s a grand tale indeed (no spoilers here) involving a past legend resembling one of the many selkie legends floating in Scottish folklore. The tension and surprising scenes of violence are inserted in all of the right places, and Silverton, Emmeline and Max the new Lord, conspire to prevent a travesty occurring that would make a past legend fleshed out in the present turn disastrous. The care and concern these characters share is what solidifies a unpredictable, quick-paced plot.
This is a stand-alone novel but there is a prequel to this tale which this reviewer knows readers will want to read after finishing this exciting, romantic, mysterious, adventurous work of historical fiction mixed with paranormal qualities. Nicely done, Juliana Gray!