Named of the DragonNow, really, there’s no point in writing a review of this book. Miss Bates’s review moved it to the top of my TBR, and you should all immediately go read her review and imagine me saying “ditto.”

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose–and she’s running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

I’ve been reading a rather large number of “strong romantic elements” books of late (I reviewed another from my TBR on the Happy Heart Reads blog today) because actual genre romance has been hard on me, and I’ll be posting a list in the next week or so of recommendations. Named of the Dragon will definitely be on it!

Kearsley’s books are all good, but this one was my own, particular brand of crack. Something relatively few people know about me is that I went to graduate school for medieval literature solely so I could spend hours and hours studying Athuriana, and Kearsley incorporates Arthurian legends from a huge number of sources. Everyone knows Arthur and Lancelot. Many people know Gawain. Few get as far as Gareth. But that doesn’t matter, because Kearsley tells you what you need to know, and she doesn’t do it in a didactic fashion; it’s just blended into the narrative in a completely natural fashion.

In addition to tantalizing me with the Arthurian elements, Named of the Dragon is a classic Gothic romance set in the modern era, complete with brooding but eminently capable hero, an assortment of good-looking men who might be villains, striking and symbolic scenery, and a paranormal element from the deepest reaches of history. They combine beautifully, musically, in this story set in modern Wales, as you can see when Gareth tries to explain to Lyn some of the history of the area:

y mab darogan, or the son of prophecy—is a cornerstone of Celtic myth. Take Arthur, for example—he’s conceived by magic, raised by strangers, that’s the classic archetype. And Arthur, you’ll remember, didn’t die. Neither did Owain. The bards sang no eulogies over him, gave him no grave.” He paused, and turned his gaze toward the window to the gently rising fields, and his accented voice became something like music, like one of the speeches he wrote for the stage. “We don’t let any of them die, in Wales—Merlin and Arthur and Owain—we keep them close by and asleep in the hills, to be wakened if ever we need them.”

Pick this one up and read it…as soon as possible!