REVIEW: Lady of Shadows by Anne IrelandTuesday, September 11, 2012 1:00
Sandy M’s review of Lady of Shadows (Sisters of the Ring, Book 1) by Anne Ireland
Historical Romance ebook published by MuseItUp Publishing 20 Jun 12
I liked the idea of this paranormal story when it was offered for review, and while it does stick close to the summary below, there are certain nuances throughout that detract from the book as a whole. However, the two lead characters are intriguing, and no punches are pulled when they suffer due to their times. The paranormal element is mired in the heroine’s past, and her belief she has inherited powers doesn’t stop her from her calling. Rhianna has been living with her uncle since the night her mother, Lady of Penrith, died, the night Rhianna saw the crimson moon, an omen that blood will flow and many will die. Her childhood since then has been nothing but a sparsely decorated room and her aunt by marriage trying to pound out of her the way Rhianna’s mother raised her only child. There has been some success at that, but when her cousin rapes her to force her into marriage, Rhianna flees with her maid and a groom to find a former servant who will help her return to Penrith.
But it’s on the road that Rhianna again meets the man who asked her for hand and who her uncle denied. This time there is no denying Robert’s insistence they marry. This man’s father killer her mother. She swore to her mother she would exact revenge for what they’d lost. So how can she allow Robert to become her husband? Despite her hard-won independence, Rhianna really has no choice as a woman on her own. And she also makes a mistake in not being honest with him, before they marry, about the state of her virtue.
Robert’s first impromptu proposal for Rhianna included a hope of making up for the grief and loss caused by his father, by returning Penrith to Rhianna. Now there is a need to have this woman as his own. Suddenly, after making love to her, his new-found happiness is dashed when he discovers her deception. Rhianna has gotten what she’s waited years for – Penrith and vengeance – all in one fell swoop. Leaving the whore to her own devices, while he travels to help the King solve the country’s woes, Robert thinks he’ll be better off without her.
But he finds he can’t stay away. And this is where the story falters for me. I can understand Robert’s anger over Rhianna’s supposed deception, but when she explains about the rape, I’m at a loss as to why he continues to not believe her, to insult her, to tell her she’s on her own without his protection anymore. This attitude continues until the last page of the book. I know he’s hurt and disillusioned, but it’s just too much. Especially because we’re left hanging at the end, waiting for the next book to continue this saga, which leads me to believe there will be more of Robert going on about her dishonesty, calling her every name in the book for who knows how long before his final epiphany comes long.
Rhianna, on the other hand, goes about her life at Penrith. Her people are happy to see her. She digs right in helping as much as she can, just as her mother did. Her powers have yet to fully develop, though we do get glimpses of what she can do now and again when her back is against the wall. I am curious to see how and when these abilities will manifest themselves. Rhianna also has the patience of a saint when it comes to Robert. She tries to reason with him, apologize to him, explaining over and over again what had happened to her, she is now his wife, she would never betray him, all of which falls on deaf ears. So you can imagine my annoyance with Robert grows at his reaction to Rhianna’s news she’s pregnant.
I also bemoan the fact that this book ends where it does, a cliffhanger of sorts with no happily ever after, all formulated for a second book. I don’t like my heroes and heroines without a HEA, even if their story goes on for another ten books. Give me all the relevant conflict you want during the story, but give me their love and happiness at the end, and then continue that conflict again later. This book is not urban fantasy where such an ending is commonplace, so I’m a tad let down that I now have to wait for something I should have been given earlier. This story has several issues that are fine left unresolved, so there’s no need to leave a reader dangling for a HEA.
My only other nitpicks are Rhianna’s childhood, which is covered at the beginning of the book and goes on a bit too long – I prefer getting to the meat of the story sooner – and the dialogue, which is at times stiff and awkward, though I know the author is going for the cadence and formality of the times. It’s just too rigid to sound plausible and causes the reader to stumble along here and there.
Though I’m angry with Robert at this point, I am curious about what will happen between him and Rhianna. There hopefully will be a lot of groveling on his part when next I see him! The fate of the country is still unknown, the Sisters of the Ring and their leader, who Rhianna is standing up to quite admirably, and a few other concerns still need to be resolved, so there’s plenty to come.
Rhianna is the Lady of Shadows. She is forced into marriage with a man she believes she hates her and yet something inside her is drawn to him. He is her enemy, but he fascinates her and her heart is captured, despite her determination to punish him for what his father did on the night of the Crimson Moon.
Robert is drawn to the beautiful girl with shadows in her eyes, but his father killed her mother and there has been too much bitterness between their families. He believed his father’s curse lies on him and fears the terrible dreams that haunt him. Is his wife truly a sorceress and can she cure him – will she? Rhianna has learned to love her husband, but when he discovers she is not virgin, he flings her from him and threatens to thrash her. She has deceived him – how can he ever trust her now?
In vain Rhianna begs for understanding. Her cousin raped her and that was the reason she was fleeing from her home when he found her. She begs Robert to forgive her, but he will not listen. Although he craves her body, he will not admit to love and he leaves her to go to war. Rhianna does not know whether he will return for her – and even if he does will he ever forgive her. He already believes her a witch and she is beginning to understand she has the power that was her mother’s…
Read an excerpt.