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Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine
#1
I was pretty sure I had seen this book mentioned on this site, but I can't seem to find it. Anyhow, I just finished it and really enjoyed. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a long gothic - 771 pages to be exact.

It is the story of two women, one in the present, and the other in the past. The lady from the past is Lady Isobel of Fife, Countess Buchan, who crowned Robert the Bruce King of Scotland. So, part of the storytelling is based on actual events in history, though the ending of Isobel's story is purely fiction. The modern woman, Clare, is a descendant of Isobel, who is "possessed" or "obsessed" by Isobel. Apparently, it is a curse on all female descendants to be haunted by Isobel.

Clare is married to an impotent, selfish, vindictive banker who attempts to get her inheritance in order to pay for debts incurred as he speculated on insider trading. As his career unravels before him, he uses every method to drive her insane and uses it against her, with the help of his unsuspecting and gullible family as well as hers.

Extremely readable and very fast-paced, such that you don't get bored with the length. However, I often felt as helpless as the heroine because she was so easily manipulated. Sometimes, I was frustrated by her actions, but then, I realized that, having been dominated by her husband for so long, it would have been easy for her to be manipulated. It's the "abused woman" mentality. Not to mention that he used her "haunting" to show that she was mad.

The book was written in the early 80s, before the age of cell phones and internet became the rage, so the tensions that build up because people can't reach one another quickly helped with the thrill. I'm just surprised I had not run across Barbara Erskine's name before.
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#2
Hi MysteryMind
I've been a Barbara Erskine fan from way back and I'm excited to meet somebody who's just discovering her awesomeness. But I've never warmed to this particular titleBig Grin I really don't believe that it's one of her best.
I would heartily recommend her earlier works. If you liked this then you'll probably love her break out novel, Lady of Hay. The story line, and length, is similar. In fact, I think I've described Kingdom of Shadows as a poor version of Lady of Hay elsewhere on this forum.
Anyway, if you're just starting out on this author's work you're in for a treat. Her short story collections are great too.
If you do read any of her other works I'd be interested to know what you think.
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#3
I have not run across Lady of Hay, but I'd be interested in finding it. I just finished another of her books and I liked it as well.
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