Zoe’s twin sister Leah finds a new job as a caretaker and tour guide at Ravenscraig Castle in Scotland after a tough period. She isn’t allowed to live there alone and Zoe agrees to go with her. Once there, Leah immediately feels at home, but Zoe senses a strange chill in the castle and sees a young woman appear at night. In the 13th century, kitchen maids Agnes and Effie must flee their home when Robert De Bruce wages war against the English king Edward I. They seek refuge in Ravenscraig, only to find that rumours of war are never far.
‘The lady of the loch‘ is a dual timeline story set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s very modernly written (that annoyed me a bit at first) and the historical part is set during’s Robert De Bruce’s reign. His wife Elizabeth De Burgh and daughter Marjorie flee to Kildrummy Castle where Agnes and Effie work in the kitchen. When they are betrayed, Elizabeth and Marjorie are taken prisoner and Agnes and Effie barely escape alive. Their path takes them to Ravenscraig (which is a fictional place) where the owners are also loyal to De Bruce.
Most of the time I do enjoy the historical timeline more, but this time that wasn’t the case. It took me a long time to get to know Agnes and to sympathize with her. I preferred the modern perspective of Zoe and Leah. They live in a flat in Birmingham, only Leah feels very unhappy. When she gets the job at Ravenscraig she hopes for a new start. But the place seems haunted.
Yes, this is also a little ghost story. Apart from that there are a lot of fast-paced romances of people falling in love instantly (a pet peeve of mine). And yet I quite enjoyed reading this novel, especially the second half of the book is much stronger. Maybe Collins felt a bit lighter than e.g. Gill Paul or Nicola Cornick. But you can compare the style and I’m curious enough to try one of next novels.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.