Meg MacNeill was young when she spent the night on Sgeir Caran. The legends told of the kelpie who claimed a bride from the island once every 100 years. Dougal Stewart was drunk when he began a boat race. The sudden storm that arrived sent them seeking shelter. They shared a night of passion, and then parted. After that night, Meg conceived a child, and the islanderís luck changed from horrible to good.
Dougal wants to build a lighthouse on Sgeir Caran because the coastline there is extremely treacherous. Meg opposes it because of the likely damage to the bird colonies, and the loss of the islandís privacy. She has inherited an enormous fortune from her grandfather, along with his title. She is influential and well versed in handling society in Edinburgh.
They come into conflict when Meg sees Dougal on her island. Only the islanders know about her child, and she doesnít want Dougal to know he has a son. She conceals her title from Dougal, but then an enemy threatens her security and inheritance.
Susan King has written a novel combining Scottish folklore and Victorian society. She weaves the disparate parts nicely. The plot is well done and the conflict is believable. The only caveat is that the enemy gives up too easily. With the exception of that detail, this is an enjoyable read.
If you like Susan Kingís writing, you will want to read Taming the Heiress. Her use of historic folklore and its impact on society is a recurring theme in her writing. This is an excellent example of it. I recommend this book. Itís a keeper.
Nancy Riggins-Hume, September 2003