Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review: Mairi Norris’ LANTERNS IN THE MIST – Terror Lurks in the Colony of Virginia

Set in Norfolk, Virginia in 1759-60, this is the story of Duncan MacCabe, a wealthy Scot shoemaker who wants a partner for his business and a wife. He gains a boon when he buys a wife at an auction who can do figures.

Susanna Cooper joined a bride ship headed for the Colony of Virginia because of her family’s dire straits. She got lucky when Duncan chose her for his wife and bought her contract, outbidding a horrible man who lurked in the shadows, a man who would seek revenge.

From the beginning, the newlyweds enjoy a warm relationship, in bed and out. Duncan seems the perfect man (though he came across as old when he was young). Susanna is kind, meticulous and conscientious, yet she is late to everything, which her husband, understandably, finds irritating.

The villain, a twisted nobleman of terrible perversions (including torture), is quite a contrast to the Colonists and their warm friendships. We are in his mind and see his infliction of pain on others. I have to confess, I skipped the graphic torture scenes.

The author has taken great pains to create the Colonial period in America’s history, down to the smallest details in entertainments, food, terms and speech. We experience the Colonists’ commitment to each other and their rising discontent with England’s taxes and ill treatment. The seeds of the Revolution have clearly been sewn.

It’s a sometimes dark, well written historical romance with authentic history and a sweet love story where all comes right in the end.


  1. Interested to see what Regan sees, since I've read it myself. I agree I skipped bits, but I was immensely impressed by the portrayal of a period that I've always known must have existed--as the colonists gradually came to the realization that the king's rule had to be challenged--which the author brought to vivid life.

    1. Yes, I agree, Beppie, but the torture did distract me when it came up.

  2. Thanks for spotlighting Lanterns In The Mist, Regan. I must admit, writing the ‘dark parts’ was quite difficult. I discovered getting into the mind of a killer could be… unpleasant. I doubt I’ll ever become a writer of horror/dark mystery!