Review of “A Strange Scottish Shore” (Emmaline Truelove #2) by Juliana Gray

Gray, Juliana. A Strange Scottish Shore. New York: Berkley, 2017. 

Paperback | $16.00 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0425277089 | 400 pages | Historical Mystery

4.5 stars

Despite not being that into the concept of the first book, and not really getting into this one the first time around, I decided to give this one another chance. And once I did, I found I enjoyed it a lot more than the first book in the series. There are still some the same odd elements that made it a bit of strange read for me, like Emmaline’s conversations with figments of her imagination, but with the world more fully established, I felt it was easier to make sense of this time around.

I found this take on time travel, intersecting with folklore and legend. Far too often, the story follows a familiar formula, of two people from different time periods meeting when one is thrust back into the other’s time, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I loved an exploration of a world where the hero or heroine isn’t an anomaly, and there are others who came to that same time period, including their love interest, and as a result, were faced with consequences of traveling through time and abandoning their old life for a new one, whether it be having to learn how to adapt to the new culture surrounding them, or being faced with a figure from their other life coming to find them, and being fixated on revenge.

And while I wasn’t a fan of Silverton as a love interest for Emmaline in the first book, I love how he evolved into someone who is a good life partner for her through their shared experience. Away from the comforts of his aristocratic life, he has made something of himself and found a focus he very much needed. And given Emmaline’s status of being on the precipice between Victorian and modern in her values, I enjoyed seeing how Silverton helped her to acclimate to their new life in the 1300s.

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