Molly's Reviews

Shadows of LoveShadows of Love
by Sally Painter
Avid Press
Highly recommended 5 stars

Lady Celeste Bates awakens muddled, unable to move, gag in place and in the course of attending her own funeral from the interior of a coffin. In horror she listens while she is lowered into a grave and earth is thrown on the cover of the funerary box. Celeste has become another in a burgeoning collection of charming young women who reside within both 1800s London and the Charleston area of South Carolina and who have without warning gone missing. The girl is later dug up only to determine that she has been sold by a white slavery ring. Carried to America aboard a sailing ship Celeste manages to slip away from everyone chasing her, makes her way to the household of her childhood, her plantation left to her by her father's will, and finds herself becoming betrothed to a man of her uncle's choosing. Celeste soon learns nothing is quite as first seems right from her dealings with the captain of the ship to the lout who has bought her to members of her own family.

Writer Painter has created a well written, engaging account revolving around conundrum, machination and drama. I am not attached to romances per se, notwithstanding, this especial narrative is a first rate romantic thriller. I am a student of history and it is very apparent Painter has done some good solid research into the era she is writing. Painter's characters are 'full bodied,' very plausible and leave the reader with little choice but to detest, have affection for or chafe over their situation. Celeste's jeopardy is one that unquestionably was a part and parcel of that period of time. As a woman of that day she was under the authority of a male relative, women were not allowed to own or manage their own property. Uncle Jonah's undertaking to marry her to the landowner of an contiguous property is well within the sphere of reality for that day and time.

Filled with the turmoil found in Elizabeth Delisi's Fatal Fortune in tandem with Maureen McMahhon's excellent writing in Shadows In The Mist Sally Painter's gripping tale is one sure to delight those who enjoy a bit of drama along with their romance. Some graphic sex, good and entertaining read.

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2005 by Molly Martin