My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Florentine Series, #2
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
I finished reading The Shadow, in one sitting, for the second time yesterday. It was even better the second time – and that’s saying something, since I thought it was perfect a month ago. Seeing the tears glistening in my eyes, my soulmate asked me how I felt. This is how the conversation went:
“Oh, my God, this book is so, so good.”
“What made it so good?”
“Could you be a bit more specific?”
“I’m not sure. Nothing I could say would do it justice.”
“Why are you crying?”
“It’s what readers do when a story is so perfect it’s etched in your heart forever.”
So here I sit a day later, trying to write a decent review for my very favorite author. I’m not sure I’m worthy of paying adequate tribute to his work, except to say that when I read anything he writes, I am filled with a sense of being truly alive. Every sense is sharpened. I live and breathe the lives of his characters; absorb the mystery of their world; appreciate art I’ve never seen; hear music as if it were my first time. I fill my lungs with the air of the Italian countryside, hear the hushed conversations in the Uffizi Gallery, and feel the heat of every moment he so lyrically describes.
The Shadow, #2 in the amazing Florentine Series, has the remarkable characteristics of every great love story – be it Dante and Beatrice or Romeo and Juliet, the skillfully crafted tale of Raven and William, the Prince of Florence, has everything you could possibly want in a dark romance. Passion. Complexity. Engaging and powerful sub-plots. Treachery. Betrayal. Secrets. Mystery. Moments of perfect joy, when the shadows are at bay and the two lovers experience the intensity of overwhelming desire, the joy of sexual union, and the vulnerability of intimacy. An undercurrent of suspense is palpable, beating in the background, building steadily; intensifying their deep personal conflicts; highlighting the fragility of the lovers’ forbidden relationship; portending a sense doom, of ultimate sacrifice and agonizing grief. But there is so much more…in the midst of what may seem to be an inevitable tragedy, Sylvain manages to instill an abiding sense of hope. Hope that the forces converging to separate the two lovers and take William’s throne – his soulmate – and his life – will miraculously be defeated. That the lost soul – the dark, avenging angel – will be redeemed. That the heroine’s light will overcome his darkness and they will ultimately experience the happy ever after they deserve.
It is simply a perfect read. I could not have hoped for more from this author or this series. And as always, having read it, I feel fulfilled, if not satisfied — there is so much more to come to conclude this amazing story.
And for those who, like me, may never get enough of Gabriel and Julia Emerson, they appear again — in a scene that will shake you to your core. And, finally, Sylvain teases us with outtakes – otherworldly ‘what-ifs’ – flights of creative fantasy to make you crave the next story…and the next…and the next.