I read the first Elena Collins book – The Witch’s Tree – last year and it was one of my top reads of 2022. So I was very excited to hear her next book The Lady of the Loch was coming out and couldn’t wait to read it.
This is a dual timeline novel set in the present day and the past. We begin with the prologue set in Ravenscraig Castle, Scotland in 1307, where we meet 23-year-old Agnes who is imprisoned in the tower facing the loch.
Then we move to present day Birmingham with 30-year-old twins Zoe and Leah, who live together in a first-floor flat. Despite being twins, they are very different with Zoe being the more confident and outgoing sister. Zoe has a well-paid job working for a charity, while Leah had resigned from her job as a Teaching Assistant at a school and is currently unemployed.
We rejoin Agnes in 1306, before the prologue, so we follow her story before she ended up in the tower. She begins as kitchen staff – a baker in Kildrummy Castle. The historical sections are beautifully done; they feel really authentic and well-researched. As Agnes works in the kitchen, you find out a lot about the food they ate and I enjoyed getting the know the other characters in this environment. But then something happens and along with her friend Effie, they flee the castle and head for Ravenscraig.
As we go between the two eras, Leah tries to find happiness in her life and moves to Scotland, where she spent many good times in her childhood. She takes a job in Ravenscraig Castle, her twin sister moving with her and it is here that the past and present start to intertwine.
Well, I do love a good historical novel, especially if it includes castles and monarchy, as this one does. Dual timeline stories are great too, as you get two stories in one really, plus the clever way they connect, so I always expected to enjoy this book for the content, as well as already being a fan of the author and her writing. But it is such an emotional story too, you get drawn into both parts and really feel for the characters, especially Agnes and Effie, who endure a lot.
The present day story has a good ghostly feel to it, without it becoming unrealistic or too frightening; the tone is just right. There is so much in this book that I’m not going to write more about it; you should read it yourselves and find out what happens. You won’t be disappointed.
The Lady of the Loch
‘Although I believe I will die here in this castle, my spirit will never be silent.’
Ravenscraig Castle, Scotland. 1307
When the castle she works in is sacked by the army of Prince Edward of England, kitchen maid Agnes Fitzgerald manages to escape north of Inverness to throw herself at the mercy of the Lord and Lady at Ravenscraig Castle. Although safe for now, the people of Scotland are fighting hard for their independence, and the threat of the English hangs heavy over the land. But when Agnes spies Cam Buchanan swimming in the loch, her mind turns away from war and towards love. Agnes even dares to dream of a happy future, until she learns that Cam must go and fight alongside Robert de Brus.
Twins Leah and Zoe need a change, so caretaking at Ravenscraig Castle is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Surrounded by rugged Highland countryside, and bordered by a loch, the picturesque setting is everything they dreamed of. But the locals are reluctant to visit Ravenscraig, and there are whispers of ghosts and lost souls. The sisters quickly dismiss such superstition, but soon the overwhelming sadness they feel coming from the tower grows too hard to ignore.
Can the sisters finally right the wrongs of seven hundred years of heartbreak, seven hundred years of betrayal…
USA Today bestselling author Judy Leigh writing as Elena Collins, brings you this heart-breaking and unforgettable timeslip novel, perfect for fans of Barbara Erskine, Diana Gabaldon and Louise Douglas.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3AHnaDE
Author Bio – Elena Collins is the pseudonym for USA Today bestselling author Judy Leigh writing unforgettable, heart-breaking timeslip novels. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.
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One thought on “The Lady of the Loch by Elena Collins”
Thanks so much for this lovely review, Karen. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. Sending warm wishes. xx
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