From Publishers Weekly
Evocative prose and an alluring setting fail to offset the awkward plotting in King's newest Scottish romance (after The Sword Maiden). In 1850, Meg MacNeill and aristocrat Dougal Stewart meet on a storm-swept rock, where Meg's superstitious family sends her to win the heart of a magical kelpie. According to legend, the kelpie will appear disguised as a man. Instead, she finds and seduces Dougal, believing him to be the kelpie. Afterward, however, Dougal's friends fetch him in a manner that convinces Meg she was tricked. Seven years later, she has secretly borne a son and unexpectedly inherited a vast fortune and a title, but she has never forgiven the man who deceived her. She's also fighting (and losing) a legal battle against an engineer who intends to build a lighthouse on the same prominent rock. When Meg meets Dougal again and realizes he's the engineer, she disguises the fact that she is the baroness who has been trying to thwart his construction plans. The plot contrivances pile up as Meg continues to conceal both her identity and the fact that they have a son, while fending off a villain intent on blackmailing her into marriage. Though the story falls short in conflict and credibility, King's smooth prose and dynamic characterizations will please her fans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* According to Scottish legend, the kelpie of Sgeir Caran is a magical sea creature who comes looking for his bride on the sea rock. If he discovers a young woman waiting for him there, he grants good fortune to his beloved as well as the Isle of Caransay and all its people. The night Meg waits alone on the rugged rock, as local tradition demands, she finds a man as handsome as the gods themselves, and as tradition also mandates, they make wild, passionate love, and then he disappears. Seven years later, Dougal is trying to build a lighthouse on Sgeir Caran, where he was washed ashore that memorable stormy night, but the mysterious Baroness of Strathlin is blocking his efforts. He's rediscovered Meg, but little does he know that the barefoot beauty is actually the baroness and that the fair-haired boy she seems so fond of is really his son. Once again, King, author of The Stone Maiden
and The Swan Maiden
(2000) and The Sword Maiden
(2001), has spun an exquisite and magical Highland romance. Shelley MosleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved