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13 / 30 books. 43% done!

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2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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29 / 50 books. 58% done!

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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30 / 100 books. 30% done!

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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83 / 165 books. 50% done!
Friday, August 25, 2017

Reincarnation Romance Sequel Better Than Its Predecessor

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Love's Shadow, it may inadvertently spoil plot surprises from Gladly Beyond, its predecessor. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.) D'Angelo Family has long been blessed (or cursed, depending on who you ask) with the ability to discern people's past lives.  When triplets Dante, Branwell, and Tennyson were born 31 years ago, their inherited "gift" fractured three ways.  Now, each of the brothers has a different supernatural talent that he uses to support the family art appraisal/authentication business.  Their special skills aren't always helpful, though.  Sometimes they're confusing, sometimes they're overwhelming, and sometimes, they're just plain dangerous ...
Branwell D'Angelo has clairaudience, the ability to hear the sounds that surrounded an object at its last manipulation.  While the skill has helped tremendously with the family business, it hasn't been useful in getting Branwell the one thing he really wants in life—Lucy Snow.  Falling in love with his brother's girlfriend was a mistake he made six years ago.  Branwell refused to betray Tennyson then and he won't do it now, even though Tennyson and Lucy are no longer together.  Keeping his heart safe is easier when Lucy is a continent away, but now that she's in Florence, Branwell knows he's in trouble. last person Lucy wants to bother while in Italy is her former boyfriend.  When her niece mysteriously disappears in a case that has the local police scratching their heads, however, Lucy knows she needs Tennyson's special skills if there's any chance of finding the missing child.  Going through Branwell to appeal to his reclusive sibling, she finds herself spending time with the brother who got away.  Is now finally their time?  Lucy won't betray Tennyson again, but boy, how she wants to ... 

With an age-old curse, a missing child, and the possibility of a second chance romance, things in Florence are heating up fast.

As you may remember, I wasn't wild about Gladly Beyond, the first book in the Brothers Maledetti trilogy by Nichole Van.  The only reason I picked up Love's Shadow, the second installment, is because it was nominated for a Whitney Award.  After the long, dull slog that was Gladly Beyond, I wasn't looking forward to reading its sequel.  At all.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself almost enjoying Love's Shadow!  Although it's only slightly shorter than its long-winded predecessor, Love's Shadow is a much tighter, more focused novel.  It's still wordy, but not as excessively so as Gladly Beyond.  While Dante (the hero of the first book) and Branwell are fairly interchangeable, Lucy is a much, much more likable heroine than Claire (the heroine of Gladly Beyond).  That made the whole story more enjoyable for me.  I didn't love the novel's anti-climactic ending or the Branwell/Lucy match-up (which gets cheesy), but all in all, Love's Shadow turned out to be an okay read for me.  Still, I won't be snatching up the last book in the series.  Although it will focus on Tennyson, the most interesting D'Angelo by far, I'm not going to bother.  While reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble give this series excellent ratings, I just don't see the appeal.

(Readalikes:  Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van; the reincarnation thing also reminds me of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-copy of Love's Shadow from the Whitney Awards Committee for contest judging purposes.  Thank you!
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