This book hits so many of my sweet spots. KJ Charles - one of my favourite authors, the time period of the early 1920's, the setting of England and all its history, legends and folklore, magic tied to the land - practically perfect!
I love how KJ writes. There's one scene, about 1/3 of the way through the book, where it gets really spooky and otherworldly and it was so amazing - it was in the humid mid-eighties temperture-wise and I swear, I was shivering as I read it!
The two main characters of Saul and Randolph are lovely. Okay, so Randolph can be a bit of a trial at times, but I love his British upper-class snark and his crankiness and being difficult just endears him to me because he really does have a mushy centre when he allows it to be seen. And Saul, the everyman who has seen such horrors and been through such an awful time through no real fault of his own, the fact that he's still a functioning human being is amazing, and when he finds something to grab on to (Randolph) well, he is so stalwart and brave and human. I loved him.
This is the first book of a trilogy and as KJ likes to do with her trilogies, there is an over-arcing plot for all three books, the beginning of which we read about here. And old evil, the historical figure of Geoffrey de Mandeville (Man-Devil, see?), the aftermath of the War Beneath (what we didn't see in WW1) versus the group of Green Men (there are women too) who are there to protect England - that's the big picture against which the love story of Saul and Randolph plays out. For my taste, there was a really good balance between the love story and sexytimes and the paranormal mystical stuff.
So yes, Spectred Isle is one of the best books I've read this year, proving once again, that KJ Charles never lets me down.
Oh, and I have to say a word about the cover of the book, created by Lexiconic Design. IT'S GORGEOUS!