Read The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale Online

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THE SHADOWWealthy, powerful and majestically handsome, he is a man of dark secrets--a master of the ancient martial arts of an exotic distant land. Scarred by a childhood of shocking degradation, he has sworn to love chastely... but burns with the fires of unfulfilled passion.THE STARLovely, innocent and nearly destitute, she is drawn to him by a fevered yearning she couldTHE SHADOWWealthy, powerful and majestically handsome, he is a man of dark secrets--a master of the ancient martial arts of an exotic distant land. Scarred by a childhood of shocking degradation, he has sworn to love chastely... but burns with the fires of unfulfilled passion.THE STARLovely, innocent and nearly destitute, she is drawn to him by a fevered yearning she could never deny -- following her enigmatic "shadow warrior" into a dangerous world of desire and righteous retribution....

Title : The Shadow and the Star
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380761319
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Shadow and the Star Reviews

  • Julianna
    2019-01-17 03:14

    The Shadow and the Star is a very dark story that could have benefited from a few more lighter moments. Still, I was able to find a stark beauty in it's raw emotional intensity. I have to give kudos to Laura Kinsale for her willingness to tackle a topic as difficult and painful as the abuse and prostitution of children with great compassion. Having the hero be the one who had suffered this abuse makes the story rather unique to the genre. The actual abuse scenes are little more than brief snippets, and in my opinion, are non-graphic and handled in a genteel way. Yet, sensitive readers should know that the psychological fallout of Samuel's past abuse is incredibly intense. I was also able to appreciate the uniqueness of the ninja training and Japanese cultural references, again something that is not often found in romance. I do enjoy a book that goes beyond the normal standards of it's genre and is written with enough intelligence to make me think. That said though, there were times that the cultural references went a bit too far beyond my understanding, yet did not fully engage my interest enough to drive me to do my own research about the topic. There were some scenes and details, not just in the cultural realm, but overall, which I think could have been pared down for the sake of picking up the pace a bit.The Shadow and the Star contained many wonderfully written elements. Ms. Kinsale has a talent for writing intoxicatingly sensual scenes that are created by a mere look or the barest of touches. There were also some beautifully romantic moments which were created from the simplest of things, such as the first gift that Samuel gave to Leda. This scene fairly made me swoon. I also thought that the initial love scene between Samuel and Leda was very well done and quite awkwardly realistic considering that both characters were virgins, which in itself is another unique story element. Ms. Kinsale also has a very nuanced writing style in which there is much left unsaid that must be read between the lines. At times this was another unique and wonderful element in the story, but admittedly this is not the easiest style to follow, and there were times that I felt like perhaps I missed something, especially at the end. Samuel had spent the better part of the book in emotional turmoil, struggling to reconcile his passions and desires as normal human responses. I never quite understood how, when, or where this finally happened. I have the sense that the answer was to be found somewhere in the symbolism of the events surrounding him, but as much as I tried to conjecture about it, the point at which Samuel was able to reconcile his feelings was never fully clear to me. Because of this, I found the ending to be pleasant and happy, but not entirely fulfilling.A couple of things about the story frustrated me a bit though, with one being the lack of communication between the hero and heroine. There were several times throughout the story when one of them would think of something they wanted to say to the other, yet for one reason or another, the words never passed their lips. I can't help but wonder if the story might have been richer and fuller if they had simply said what they were feeling. There was also never any discussion between these two characters about Samuel's past beyond a mere admission on Leda's part that she knew. I know that they were both rather shy characters, but I still thought that it might have added depth to their relationship if they had discussed their feelings surrounding this issue or just simply had discussed their feelings in general. Leda didn't seem to have any difficulty droning on about insignificant things such as home furnishings, but when it came to the truly important things, such as saying, “I love you.” or expressing a need for intimacy, it seemed like she felt that these were improper topics of conversation. I think it might have been even nicer if Samuel had gotten to a point that he trusted Leda enough to tell her of the past abuse himself, rather than the knowledge of it having come from Tess. Another thing that bothered me just a little was the mystical, magical aura surrounding certain parts of the story. There were times that Samuel reminded me more of a Jedi than a flesh and blood man which seemed a little out of place in a historical romance and better suited to the paranormal genre. I also have to admit to being a bit unnerved at the strangeness of Leda's “dear sir” formalities with Samuel even after they were married and in the midst of passionate moments. I'm afraid I just can't imagine calling my husband by such a title.;-)The characterizations were extremely well done exhibiting a great deal of depth. I adored Samuel as the hero. I guess I have a certain preference for brooding, tormented heroes, and Samuel definitely fit this category. Underneath his seemingly cold, distant exterior beat a kind, gentle and loving heart. I liked the way that the author used Samuel's ninja training to empower his character. I found his avenging angel persona to be very sexy and appealing, and would have liked to have seen more of these types of exploits in the story. I loved the way that he was able to shut down the child prostitution rings so neatly and quietly, with no fanfare, and never resorted to any kind of violence. I think it would be impossible not to like a character such as Samuel who possessed such intelligence and ingenuity while being drop-dead gorgeous. His character's emotional intensity was heart wrenching, but gave him so much humanity. Considering the dark nature of Samuel's character, I thought that the overall story would have been more balanced if Leda had been a bit more vibrant and passionate rather than being so reserved, proper and somewhat intense in her own right. For all of her supposed French blood, Leda didn't really act very “French”. I have found that most of the very best romances featuring tormented heroes, have a lighter heroine. In this respect, I thought that Ms. Kinsale's “yin and yang” were a bit off. That said though, Leda was still a very likable character. She was every bit the lady in spite of her non-titled status, being very graceful and composed. She had scruples that she lived by almost religiously. I also like that she was described as rather plain-looking, but best of all, she was kind, gentle, trusting and understanding toward Samuel and never pitied him for his past, only saw a strong, remarkable man. She was also able to intuit his needs and never left him even when, in his fear, he tried his best to drive her away.Many of the secondary characters were also well written. I really enjoyed all of the flashbacks to Samuel's post-abuse childhood with the Ashlands, and his times training with the family's old butler, Dojun. I found Dojun to be a rather confusing and ambiguous character though, because most of the time, he seemed to be a loving father-figure to Samuel, offering him a way to build confidence and empower himself, but by the end of the book, it seemed that Dojun had given Samuel the training for rather selfish reasons. Again, perhaps this was simply one of those read-between-the-lines nuances that I was missing. Kai was a lovely and lively but rather complex character, who at times seemed rather childish and shallow, though not annoyingly so, and at other times seemed very responsible for her age. Readers also get a good look at where Gryphon and Tess are about two decades after their own love story took place in The Hidden Heart, and it's nice to see that they are still passionately in love.While I have not seen any official series designation for any of Ms. Kinsale's books, The Shadow and the Star is basically a sequel to The Hidden Heart. As I mentioned, The Hidden Heart is Gryphon and Tess's story, and they play fairly significant roles in The Shadow and the Star. Samuel first appeared briefly in The Hidden Heart as a child who, at the time, was still in the throes of horrible abuse. I rarely read series or interconnected books out of order, but I made an exception in this case, as I was unable to find a copy of The Hidden Heart at my local library. The Shadow and the Star was the first time I had read a book by Ms. Kinsale, but I liked it well enough that I would definitely like to acquire a copy of The Hidden Heart, so that I can go back and fill in the beginnings of this story, and would also be open to reading other titles written by her. As it was though, I believe the two books stand well on their own, as there was enough back story given that I didn't feel lost at any point. Enjoy might be a bit of a strong word for a book that is as hauntingly intense as The Shadow and the Star, but I can say that I appreciated the story a great deal. Though we may not wish to face the reality of such evil in the world, it does exist, and I found that the story really made me think about that on a very deep level long after turning the last page. If you are looking for a book to escape reality this one is definitely not it, but if you are looking to broaden your horizons with a story that expresses a beautiful uniqueness and incredible poignancy and depth then I would highly recommend The Shadow and the Star.

  • Res
    2019-01-16 04:13

    The Victorian romance where Samuel is a child prostitution survivor and a Hawaiian ninja. I can add nothing to this.No, actually, I can, because I'm afraid I didn't really care for either of the major characters.Leda comes across throughout as a little old woman. A conventional little old Victorian woman with a commonplace mind. I sympathized with her plight, yes, but I didn't see anything special about her whatsoever. Samuel apparently knows only two women his age, and the other one might as well be his sister; it's hard not to feel that once he gets out into the world a bit, he'll notice that women are different from one another and wonder why he picked this one.Samuel is about as damaged as you would expect him to be, and it's sad, because of course he's some years too early to be able to talk to Doctor Freud about his problems, and Victorian culture forbids him to talk to anyone else -- but, rather like Dain in Lord of Scoundrels, he's so very self-involved that my reaction to him tips rather suddenly from woobification to annoyance. By the end of the book, Leda knows all about his past difficulties, but he knows nothing about hers, nor does he ever think to fill her in on what's happening in the present. In fact, now that I come to think of it, I don't remember Samuel ever taking any interest in anything about anyone except what he needed from them. I'm sure the author didn't intend to create a monster, and since Samuel's needs are emotional rather than mercenary, it doesn't hit you right away, but I'm not actually sure he's aware that others have needs at all.The other cultures are sensitively handled -- one thing I particularly appreciated was having pidgins clearly labeled as pidgins, rather than presented without explanation so that the speakers of them look like ignoramuses.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-01-15 03:18

    I love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She is principled and kind, and can see past the surface to the man that Samuel is. It's a very touching book and my only complaint is I would love an epilogue about two of my favorite characters and their life together.

  • Crista
    2018-12-24 01:06

    I love reading reviews, and there are some incredible reviews of this book, however I always seem to feel the need to voice my own opinion..so here's my two cents. Just a quick synopsis. Samuel was horribly abused as a child. He is taken in by Lady Tess and Lord Gryphon from the book "Hidden Heart" and made a part of their family. He has major scars, literal and figurative, from his abuse and is horribly wounded as a man. Leda was also "adopted" and is very much alone in the world. She comes to live with Samuel's family after some crazy events and thus begins a relationship with Samuel as his secretary. Here's what I loved..... 1. The relationship between Samuel and Lady Tess is simply heart-wrenching. The flashbacks of him as a child coming home to live her and Gryph are literary perfection. Her love, devotion, acceptance, loyalty, and protection of this wounded child are heart rendering. The scene where Lady Tess talks with Samuel about his duty to marry Leda had me weeping! 2. Leda is a woman I loved. She was a woman of fierce devotion, strong moral code, and properness. She is constantly reminding Samuel of proper language (he tends to swear a little), and proper behavior. 3. Samuel is incredible. Strong....he's accomplished in the martial arts (a ninja), is very attractive, wealthy, and socially accepted. Weak....Maybe not the right word, but wounded emotionally from past abuse, extremely influenced by his sensai, very unsure of himself with Leda. All of these characteristics make him very appealing. 4. The writing is superb. There are no loose ends, no wasted plot lines, everything in this book is there for a reason and is tied up in the end. I loved how Samuel had to remind Leda to "breathe" when she gets into stressful circumstances, and this fact is true throughout the book...by the end this quirk of Leda's and Samuel's gentle care for her is so touching. Also Leda's name for him "Dear Sir" is used throughout and also is extremely touching. Here's what I didn't..... 1. There's not much. I will say that Laura Kinsale is not for everyone. Some other authors...Kleypas, McNaught, Putney, Balogh, have more universal appeal, but Kinsale's writing sets her apart. She is smart...you as the reader need to figure out things for yourself...she not just going to give it to you. Characters feelings and motives are not always explained like you wish they would be, but this is her style. This is not a quick and easy read, (as many romance novels are). She is extremely in depth with culture and practice, and interweaves several different cultures/societies into one book. This may confuse and aggravate some readers. 2. The relationship between Dojun and Samuel was a difficult one for me. I went back in forth...is is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, did Dojun hurt or help Samuel more...questions like this I wish were more understandable and clear, but here again lies the reality of Kinsale's writing...sometimes it's okay to live in the gray instead of the black and white.

  • Ally
    2018-12-27 00:07

    So, after some serious thinking, I hate this book. And I love this book.I don't hate it for many of the reasons I hear bandied about...I could give a sh!t less about the OW, because she was rarely an "other woman". She was barely a woman. She was barely a human. She was a construct of perfection that our fractured hero needed to fool himself in to thinking he was good, pure, healthy and human. Don't get me wrong. I yelled at this book, specifically Mr. Gerard a lot. He pissed me right the hell off. So here's the deal. hero: Samuel or as I like to call him, Mr. Gerard, is our hero. Tortured. Abused and raped as a child. He's definitely got some dissociative issues and his ability to understand the feelings of others is in serious doubt. He's got some "ninja" ( never mentioned, never identified but for the sake of a short review, I am calling it ninja, ok?) moves. His head is seriously messed up. He thinks the "ow" will being him in to the light. He finds his attraction to our lovely heroine, Leda, off putting and wrong. He judges himself for these feelings because he certainly doesn't have them about the "ow". This is your clue folks, to stop focusing on the other woman issue, he's got no real feeling about her. His attraction to her is not really an issue. It's a side thing. Mr. Gerard does some super sh!tty stuff. But if you've ever met someone who's fractured, this is pretty typical. In fact, face it, we all do crap stuff. And I know this is romance and it's fantasy, and the good people, of which are heroines are supposed to be, should ultimately be really good. Mr. Gerard never quite gets there. Ah well. It's a book. I will say this for the man, his passion is most passionate. It's heartbreakingly passionate.Heroine: Leda is the most perfect and amazing heroine I think I have ever read. She's annoying at times. She's totally over the top proper. And is the perfect counter balance to Mr. Gerard's savagery. Damn, talk about a juxtaposition. So fricking proper. Even at the end. Even when she is trying to further Mr. Gerard in to the bedroom. "It seemed altogether too forward to just brazenly invite him up to the bedroom...I prefer a bed...well, yes, I have been wondering how I might genteelly elude to the topic."Come on people, how is she not perfect? I am in love with her. And I am in love with this book. So, that's enough rambling for this review. This is simply one of my top books.

  • MissCherry
    2019-01-11 22:33

    Me ha gustado mucho más que el anterior que leí de ella. En esta el personaje de la protagonista se me ha hecho moderadamente soportable, aunque ni de lejos entrañable como se me ha hecho el del protagonista. Samuel es un personaje con mucha miga y esa miga me ha faltado en Leda para que fuese perfecto. El libro va desde Londres hasta Hawai, lo que lo hace dinámico. Tiene algunas de esas escenas que no se te olvidan nunca como por ejemplo la del collar, que me ha parecido redonda. ¿Que habría quitado o qué me ha parecido mal encajado? La trama japonesa, había un exceso de términos japoneses sin traducción lo que en vez de sumergirte en la trama te hace desconectar por completo. Como soy muy fan del drama los altibajos de Samuel y Leda me han encantado, sobretodo el rollo de que Samuel tuviese ese amor platónico desde la infancia por Kai. Me gusta que esta autora sea de las que apuestan por romance a fuego lento, te hace disfrutar más de la finalización del mismo.

  • Lyuda
    2018-12-27 02:04

    This is my second re-read of the book.Published in 1991, it still holds its awesomeness on re-read. I'm in awe of the author who created this unforgettable romance and complex characters. Please, Ms. Kinsale, come back to writing!

  • Alex Morrison
    2019-01-08 23:33

    Update 3/11/2016:Leda, our heroine, is possibly my favorite Kinsale heroine to date. She, by far, is the one that I can relate to the most and I really loved being exclusively in her head for the first half of the novel. She's a woman living on her own in Victorian London, trying to make ends meet, but because of social mores there are tough and dangerous situations that she cannot control due to economic status and being female."Here she preferred not to dally at an idle pace, but picked her way among the crowds and delivery vans with vigor. It was awkward to be walking unaccompanied; she wouldn't like to be taken for a lady of questionable character. But Miss Myrtle said that quality would always speak for itself, so Leda kept her chin up and her pace elegant, ignoring, for the most part, the scarecrow figures who lounged in shadowed doorways and lingered at the coffee stalls."Luckily, since this is a Historical Romance, there was a neat way out of her current lifestyle but, since this is a Kinsale, it always felt earned and genuine.Enter Samuel. We don't get his point of view until mid way through the book and I absolutely adore how Kinsale structured this. The payoff is worth it, and while you don't need to have read The Hidden Heart to read this, it's slightly better if you are aware of Samuel's background and his relationship to Tess and Gryff (who are both total gems in this book). Samuel remains a mystery to Leda, and one she is keen to solve."He met her nonplussed look, and smiled suddenly, a quiet smile, absurdly charming. "And no," he said, "I'm not mad, you know."In truth, I spent most of the book feeling so heartbroken for Samuel, and then in turn Leda, because their story is quite sad at times, but always rather touching. They both have a lot to learn, but are naive without it coming off as overly precious or saccharine. "A potent silence stretched between them, a bright mystery, full of uneasy fancies."These are well put together, responsible people who are trying to do their best but in some ways just haven't dealt with certain deficiencies. They both are figuring out what it means to be a whole person, both for themselves and if they wish to be with someone else. (There is one line of Leda's that really exemplifies this, when she is asked how she'd like to be courted and she responds "I would wish… to be stood up for.") Because of this, I found myself rooting for them to grow with each other instead of necessarily being overly invested in them as a romantic couple, though that was a bonus. That said, there are many, MANY moments of delightful and clever exchanges between the two which elevate the book and make it one of my favorite Kinsales. "He scowled more deeply and rubbed one eyebrow. "Miss Etoile," he said abruptly. "You are a woman." Leda bridled up a little. She put her hands together in her lap, trying to think of how Miss Myrtle would have responded to such a barefaced statement, unsure of whether to preen or to be alarmed."You have experience of the world," he went on, before she could say anything. "You will… know things … understand things—that aren't self-evident to a man. To someone like me." With a peculiar mixture of relief, disappointment, and pleasure in the idea that she appeared to him to be sophisticated and self-possessed, she said, "Well, yes, perhaps that is true." Miss Myrtle had always said so. She hadn't ascribed to this modem notion of equality between the sexes. Women were patently superior."3/8/2016: None of my many, MANY highlights were saved in my Kindle app apparently, so I'm a bit put out at the moment. This book had so many lovely moments that had me clutching my chest or smiling ear to ear - I just wish I could share them with you!Better review to come.

  • Nefise
    2019-01-02 02:24

    I am a little bit hesitant towards the author due to one of her book I read. Although, aforementioned book is one of the best known and loved one, I had issues about romance part about it. Therefore, I was not sure if I liked it.However, I liked the book immensely, unfortunately, I can’t say that I loved it. Again, the romance factor made me feel this way.I think, I can’t express enough how much I liked both plot and narrative. I have a tendency and curiosity about Japanese culture, it might be the reason.I like how author described and let us know hero step by step. I could empathic with him, even I respected him very much. I could completely understand his need feeling safe and why he preferred to be married with Kai. Though, there were not enough for me to understand his attitude towards Leda.Leda characterized full of innocence, her situation made her more vulnerable and sympathetic. I wanted her happiness very much. Maybe because of this reason, I expected a good groveling and demonstration of affection by Samuel.Author put some solid signs for us to witness Samuel’s covered feelings for her. Yet, I would like to read Leda also was persuaded about itAlthough, Samuel declared his love to her, he didn’t show any of it. Maybe a scene with a elegant necklace like one, he bought for Kai, would helped to relieve me.  In my opinion, she was still unaware of how deep his love for her.To sum it up, about Kai, author should have written a closure, at least for the sake of readers like me. About other aspects, Donjun, the mysterious sword, mythic topics about Japanese educations were intriguing and added a layer to story. I liked and excited when I noticed that Samuel secretly went in Leda’s room. Their first meeting at the tailor shop and his behavior as if he knew her for a while. I think, there are many things opportune to more development and of course, consequently the book would be longer.I gave 4 stars because I liked the whole story, but I was expecting more about romance so I cut that last star for it.

  • Susan
    2019-01-13 04:15

    So, I was scared to read this because even I, who read these books like it's my job, balk at the idea of a romance novel about a ninja in Victorian England.I liked it though, really liked it, because it has excessive use of the word "sir" in endearing and romantical moments, and because the heroine is a bit of a priss, but not annoyingly so.My problem is that Kinsale has left some key literary devices to my imagination, and I've got a very cynical one, imagination that is, so I don't appreciate that one bit...I wanted a more profuse "until this moment I never knew myself" scene, where I felt the hero, who, despite being a ninja in Victorian England (um, come on, how awesome is that?), is decidedly tortured because of events in his past (they always are aren't they?) came to terms with his inner turmoil and really was free to love the priss heroine...I mean seriously, it's not just the demons of his past...he also spent most of the book attracted to the heroine, but like, in denial about it, thinking he loved someone else...where was the scene with the obligatory "I realized that my feelings for so and so were strictly platonic, and that I didn't know what love was until you, and so forth" scene?Kinsale assumes that there are some smart people reading her books, intelligistas who will gladly fill in these scenes (or add to the paltry moments she's written into the book) for themselves. But then there's me! Me, who can never be sure of the happy ending unless it's explicit because I'm always sure something bad's going to happen, no matter how much I struggle to convince myself otherwise.Sigh, it's only a book I suppose...a good book.

  • LuvGirl
    2019-01-15 00:14

    I cannot deny that this book was well written. LK knows how to tell a story and write interesting characters. I wasn't blown away by this book however. It had it's moments of greatness that made me smile and tear up, but it failed to keep me clued to the pages. I found myself being anxious for it to come to it's conclusion towards the ending when the sword storyline took precedence over the romance. I was also hoping for Samuel to reassure the reader that he wasn't in love with Lady Caroline anymore, but it never happened the way I wanted it to. I know he declared his love for the heroine but he was so obsessed with Lady Caroline when he was forced to marry the heroine that I found it hard to believe that he would just stop wanting to be with her. I didn't give up reading it though, so it was interesting enough to read, but just wasn't as spectacular as I was expecting it to be. I definitely understand the appeal of this book to others though.

  • Erika
    2019-01-02 01:20

    Not going to read this. Originally I wanted to because I really would love more books with virgin heroes -- just a break from the masses of manwhores.My reason why I am not going to read:(view spoiler)[ Unfortunately, after reading a dozen reviews, I found multiple references to the hero obsessing over and fantasizing about an OW for 3/4 of the book. Not for me. (hide spoiler)]

  • Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
    2019-01-06 02:11

    ~3.70~HRBC BOTM February 16-29, 2016 theme--Late VictorianThis was a good reading experience of a very different sort of HR!I'm looking forward to reading more from this author!

  • Melissa
    2019-01-18 04:32

    Laura Kinsale is a goddess. Do I really need to write more of a review than that? ;) She can take the craziest sounding premise -- in this case the love story of a former child prostitute/white Hawaiian ninja and a prim and proper Victorian Englishwoman -- and spin something deep and rich and emotionally truthful out of it. Complex characters, beautiful prose, heart-wrenching emotion, exotic locations, a bit of adventure...classic Kinsale, in other words.This novel is a follow-up to The Hidden Heart, and the hero and heroine of that story play an important part in The Shadow and the Star. The hero of this second book is Samuel Gerard, the child prostitute "Sammy" who we saw a few times in The Hidden Heart. Tess and Gryf, now Lord and Lady Ashland, find Sammy and take him into their home in Hawaii, raising him as a foster son alongside their own two children. The flashback chapters to Samuel's childhood, especially his worshipful relationship with his beloved mother-figure Tess, are beautiful and heartbreaking. Samuel is a sweet boy and becomes a good, honorable man -- one with some very special skills taught to him by the Ashlands' Japanese butler -- but he still struggles with the memories of his pre-Hawaiian childhood. He demonizes himself as he grows up and starts having sexual feelings. For him it's all tied up with the horrors he experienced as a young boy.The heroine, Leda Etoile, is probably my favorite of the Kinsale heroines I've encountered so far, at least in terms of sheer likability. There's something sweet and dear about her, with her struggles to maintain her dignity and morals in the midst of encroaching poverty. She was an orphan raised by a genteel spinster, and while she can be a bit of a Victorian Miss Priss as a result (she can't bring herself to use the word "leg" when describing a table, for instance), it was never off-putting to me. The way she meets and gets to know Samuel is very unusual, and I love the way their friendship unfolds. (His first gift to her made me cry!)Of course eventually friendship becomes something more complicated, when Leda falls hopelessly in love with Samuel, who is determined to marry the Ashlands' daughter Katherine (Kai), and Samuel starts feeling things for Leda that he never has for Kai. He had envisioned a chaste marriage with Kai, whom he idolizes for her purity and innocence, and when he has lustful, mixed-up feelings for Leda, he doesn't know how to handle them. The scene in which Leda and Samuel have sex for the first time is as ringing an endorsement for providing young people with sex ed as I can think of. Those two poor clueless people! Their actions lead to a forced marriage, which actually turns into something beautiful and loving, and then goes awry, and then comes back together again...In the midst of all this, there's a plot line about a stolen Japanese sword and Samuel's involvement in that, and it's interesting, but the plot is really in service to the character development, not the other way around, and that's just the way I like it.If I have one complaint about the book, it's that the resolution of Leda and Samuel's marital issues, and in particular of Samuel's deep-seated conflict over his sexual desires, feels a little rushed at the end. Normally I don't care for epilogues, but this is one book where I was really hoping to flip to the page after the last chapter and find one! I just needed a little bit more. Still, overall this is a gorgeous, moving book. Highly recommended.

  • Ridley
    2018-12-30 01:10

    Not really sure why this is some sort of classic. The ninja bits are as ridiculous as they sound. The ninja intrigue at the end vastly overshadowed the romance and bored the shit out of me, leaving me skimming through the final 50 pages or so. It wasn't a bad book, but I could easily put it down to play Bejeweled for a bit without feeling any sort of urgency to get back to it. I never became invested in the romance or the intrigue.

  • Luli
    2019-01-06 02:03

    Me estaba encantando esta historia. Un romance muy pausado, unos protagonistas cautivadores y un escenario de lo más original y novedoso.Mr. Gerard es guapísimo y con un físico que roza la perfección. Es callado y distante pero también es observador y educado. Y tiene un pasado más que oscuro.Leda es atractiva y tímida y acérrima defensora del decoro y la formalidad y además está a un paso de convertirse en una “sin techo”… así que cuando el apuesto Mr. Gerard le ofrece una solución, ella la acepta aunque le cueste en el alma…Los personajes secundarios son encantadores y cariñosos y se nota el amor incondicional que le tienen a su familia y el que le toman a la protagonista.Y el trasfondo de la historia es muy original, nunca había leído un romance histórico situado en las Islas Hawái, con personajes japoneses y mucha influencia de esta cultura en el pasado del protagonista.Todo esto ha sido encantador, entretenido y muy original. La historia está muy bien escrita y no le puedo poner ni una sola falta. Lo único que no me ha gustado es el romance. Y esto sólo es mi opinión personal y no muy compartida, ya que en general, esta historia le ha encantado a todas mis amigas de GR que la han leído… es una pena que no la haya podido apreciar, porque la historia en sí es interesante…Lo que para mí ha fallado, como ya he dicho antes, ha sido el romance, en cuanto los protagonistas intiman empiezo a descolgarme de la historia. Me parece que cambian demasiado, se radicalizan en extremo y al final, pierdo un poco el respeto por ellos.(view spoiler)[ No me gustó la actitud de Samuel frente a Leda una vez que tienen sexo, ni me gusta como la trata ni cómo se comporta, ni que le tengan que poner las cosas claras desde fuera. Me pareció una actitud infantil para un personaje tan duro y rudo, como demuestra ser luego.Tampoco me gusta lo pusilánime que se vuelve Leda, pierde totalmente su capacidad de decisión y se deja llevar por todo y por todos. Hasta este punto lo único que le atraía de Samuel es que era muy guapo, tal y como nos reconoce cada dos segundos.No me creí esos “te quiero” taaaan tardíos y me pareció que Samuel asumió un poco el papel de abusador al final de la historia. Además de lidiar con su lujuria no sentí ningún otro sentimiento de él hacía la protagonista hasta casi llegado el final. (hide spoiler)]En fin, que esta historia no ha funcionado para mí. No he conectado con la segunda mitad del libro, me ha parecido un poco pesado y ha llegado a aburrirme… Una pena…I was enjoying this story. A very leisurely romance, some captivating characters and a scenario very original.Mr. Gerard is handsome to a fault and with a physique that is close to perfection. He is silent and aloof but is also observant and polite. And to say that he has a dark past is an understatement.Leda is pretty and shy and an ardent upholder of decorum and formality and is one step away from becoming destitute... so when the handsome Mr. Gerard offers her a solution, she accepts it even if she found it hard...The secondary characters are charming and affectionate and they show the unconditional love they have for their family and towards the heroine.And the story´s background is so original, I had never read a historical romance set in the Hawaiian Islands, with Japanese characters and so much influence of this culture in the hero´s past.All this has been lovely, entertaining and very original. The story is very well written and I have not found anything wrong about it except for the romance. And this is only my opinion, subjective and in the minority, since in general, this story has enchanted all my GR friends who have read it... it is a pity that I haven´t been able to appreciate it, because the story itself is interesting...What has failed for me, as I have said before, has been the romance, as the MC´s become intimateI began to feel detached from the story. It seems to me that they change a lot, they become a bit extreme, and at the end, I couldn´t care for them.(view spoiler)[ I didn't like Samuel´s attitude towards Leda once they have sex, neither I like how he behaves, nor that somebody else have to told him what the honorable thing to do was. He seemed like a child with a tantrum, a unbelievable attitude for a character so hard and rough, as he proves to be later.I do not like the weak Leda either. She loses her capacity of decision and end up in the middle of a threesome (It´s not a triangle for the reader who has a more complete vision of the goings on, but it is for her). Up until this point the only thing that she felt for Samuel is that he is very handsome, as she herself recognizes us every two seconds.I did not believe (either) the so late "I love you´s" and it seemed to me that Samuel took a bit the role of an abuser at the end of the story. In addition to dealing with his lust, I didn't feel any other feeling he had towards the heroine up to almost the end.(hide spoiler)]Anyway, this story has not worked for me. I have not connected with the second half of the book; I have found it a bit tiresome and it has come to bore me... A pity...

  • Lea's Audiobooks Hensley
    2018-12-28 02:29

    Narrated by Nicholas BoultonContent: A+ Narration: A-It’s finally here. I’ve been talking about The Shadow and the Star since I first discovered Laura Kinsale’s plans to release her books in audio format. In case you haven’t heard (which is doubtful if you hang around AudioGals), this is my favorite Kinsale book, so much so, that it also ranks as one of my all-time favorite historical romances.Through Nicholas Boulton’s performances of Kinsale’s titles, my appreciation for her writing has increased. Where before, I may have been a bit resistant to her difficult lead characters (especially heroines) in print, with Boulton relating each tale so superbly, I’ve learned to rest, even as the tension builds to almost uncomfortable heights or the personal suffering of a lead character makes me want to shy away. In doing so, I’ve learned to trust the author to consistently deliver a riveting story that, while I may be a little worn out from the anticipation or worry, I’ll be tremendously pleased with in the end.Compared to the intensity found in Flowers from the Storm or For My Lady’s Heart, The Shadow and the Star is soothing. It’s simply an exceptional romance story without the extreme angst or emotional lows.Read the rest of the review at AudioGals. http://www.audiogals.net/2013/12/the-...

  • Ania
    2018-12-24 05:23

    This book was amazing! Exactly the quality of story telling I've come to expect from a Laura Kinsale book. She never disappoints. The ending could've been a bit "more" but other than that, I LOVED IT.Leda, the heroine is great, brave and a true woman of honor in every sense of the word while Samuel is the kind of self-tortured, quiet, mysterious hero that you can't help but want to give him a giant hug and still jump him at the same time, all the while helping him get rid of his inner demons. He's all I would expect from a remarkable hero, a man that makes you feel so many different things, that tortures your senses and confuses your mind. Now I'm stuck with a huge book hungover and a dwindling list of books by Laura Kinsale to read. Onto the next!

  • Sally
    2019-01-06 01:11

    Oh look. Another 5 stars for a Laura Kinsale book. My brains not at full power at the moment so I don't really have anything intelligent to say. I loved this book (what a big surprise). I love how it's again different. Plenty of interesting plot, gorgeous writing and wonderful characters. I am a sucker for damaged heroes and this one certainly is. AND IT HURTS. I want to give him a great big hug. And I hate the villain from The Hidden Heart EVEN MORE. I didn't think it would be possible.

  • Cassandra Dexter Colby
    2018-12-27 23:24

    Un libro que me ha hecho llorar. Laura Kinsale sabe crear unos personajes que nos llegan al corazón. http://alacamaconunlibro.blogspot.com...

  • Nani
    2019-01-12 05:07

    4 estrellas.Pero para mí, una gran decepción, en cuanto al personaje de Samuel. No tiene nada que ver con el aspecto de su introducción al mundo de las artes marciales. Sino en como ha tratado a Leda durante casi todo el libro, ha sido cruel, insensible, egoísta, como un niño mimado que no se salía con la suya. Leda, ha sido un amor, con sus tonterías sobre como comportarse en la sociedad, me hacía mucha gracia sus comentarios. Pero siempre ha sido una persona firme en sus creencias (lo que la habían enseñado) y sin embargo, ha madurado y evolucionado con una elegancia y una dulzura que me ha impresionado.He disfrutado viendo a Tes y a Grif con más años, pero amándose con la misma intensidad.No sé si lo volveré a leer, porque no me ha llenado, no he sentido ese amor profundo y sincero por parte de Samuel hacía Leda, algo que me ha entristecido muchísimo. Uno no puede pensar que "ama" a una persona y de repente, sin ver esa evolución, decir Te amo sin más a otra. Tratándola como lo ha hecho.Lo que he maravillado, es como ha descrito los paisajes, ambientes, costumbres de Hawai. Era como estar allí, respirar las flores y sentir la brisa. Ver todos esos matices en los colores.

  • Dαɴιjα
    2018-12-29 04:10

    In January, 2015 I fell in love with a book, a book so beautiful it was more than enough to make me a fan of the author who wrote it. Since Flowers from the Storm I've only read three more novels penned by Laura Kinsale, in part because knowing I still have several of her books left to read comforts me, and in part because I'm a bit of a chicken -- Ms. Kinsale's books are beautifully written, but not always easy to read. In all honesty, I started reading The Shadow and the Star way back in May. After only a few pages, I decided I wasn't ready to find out what the main characters would have to go through to get their happy ending. Once November came, I figured it was high time I read the novel Laura Kinsale declared as her favorite book she'd written.Now, I feel silly for waiting this long to read it because it exceeded my high expectations. It's been too long since I loved a book as much as I loved The Shadow and the Star. I was on the brink of tears when I finished it, not because it was a sad ending, but because I didn't want to let it go. 449 pages, yet it ended all too soon. Not even an epilogue was there to comfort me.That was four days ago. Ever since I've been trying to find the right words to express what it was that once again made me fall in love with Ms. Kinsale's storytelling, but I'm afraid whatever I come up with, doesn't seem enough. Lets just say it was everything, okay? The Shadow and the Star reminded me of the time I first read this author. What wonderful and nerve-racking reading experiences! Laura Kinsale's heroes and heroines have mountains of trouble to conquer before getting to their happy ending. I normally breathe a sigh of relief when I get to the last page and find the main characters in a good place at last. This time was different. I was about halfway through when I finally started believing that no matter what happened, it would be alright in the end, and I realized that even when it seemed like a chasm was opening between the main characters, Samuel and Leda, Ms. Kinsale was actually very slowly bringing them together. Their 449 pages long journey was an emotional roller coaster: heartbreaking mostly, but also heartwarming, at times frustrating, and even though I was often dangerously close to crying, there were parts I found amusing, and instances when I would just laugh out loud. I've been reading what I wrote about Flowers from the Storm, and this part caught my attention: the main reason I fell in love with this book was Christian Langland, Duke of Jervaulx. I could say the same thing now, just with a different name: the main reason I fell in love with this book was Samuel Gerard. Tortured heroes seem to be a specialty of Ms. Kinsale, and Samuel was tortured as they come. He first appeared in The Hidden Heart as a boy in horrendous circumstances, to say the least. I haven't read that book, but that part of Samuel's life was covered enough not to feel important pieces of his backstory were missing. Besides that, there were chapters which were snippets from Samuel's past showing how he became who he was in the present time: from coming to Hawaii to live with Lady Tess, to being trained by their Japanese butler in ancient martial arts, deciding to marry Kai, Lady Tess's daughter, once she was old enough, and working hard to be a successful businessman and worthy of Kai. He had made decisions regarding his future and was focused on accomplishing his goals. In present time, Samuel and the Ashland family were in London for Her Majesty's Jubilee. There, Samuel, or the Shadow Warrior, crossed paths with Leda, and his life started going the way he never planned. Leda's circumstances were bad at the beginning. She had been brought up as a proper lady, but after both her guardian and the first heir to her guardian's house died, she had to move and rent a shabby room in a dreadful neighborhood. She was barely making ends meet working as a showroom woman, and even that position she had to leave when her employer made apparent the dishonorable way of earning extra money. From there on her situation only got worse. Then one night a stranger broke into her room, only it wasn't a stranger at all, but Mr. Gerard, the devastatingly handsome, cold angel she had met just before she had to resign her job. She helped him, and chose not to disclose his crimes to the police, but only when she had to abandon her room without anything did she find herself in front of Samuel's house ready to accept his offer to become his secretary.In the Ashlands' home Leda was welcomed with open arms. Bickering with Samuel about proper behavior aside, she was comfortable and safe. A true friendship was forming between them, with stolen glances, touches, words and thoughts alluding to stronger feelings. Leda was first to admit to herself she had fallen in love with Mr. Gerard. Samuel, on the other hand, was quite clueless in figuring out his feelings. The aloof, cold, calm, calculated man turned out to be none of those things inside. He was apparently in turmoil since he met Leda. His desire for her shamed him, though if he was being honest, he did everything to tie her to him. His mind was troubled -- he burned for one woman, and was planning to propose to another, not even realizing his feelings for Kai were those of a protective brother or that his vision of their life together was nowhere near to one of a happy, married couple in love. Oh, the man was deeply conflicted, it was painful to read. The mountain of trouble this hero had to conquer was in his mind. Luckily, despite his determination to stay away from Leda, his body lead him right to her -- a repeating theme throughout the book. It took an intervention from Lady Tess and Lord Gryphon to convince him to do right by Leda. However, with Leda's primness and apparent inability to be frank and open about anything but furniture, it would seem, and Samuel's reserved nature, these two still had a long way to go. I wouldn't say they succeeded at openness even at the end. That's why I wished there was an epilogue, to find them happy and laughing for once, especially Samuel. Yeah, Samuel's laughter would have been nice to wrap it all up. What can I say in the end, except that Laura Kinsale is a freaking genius. The Shadow and the Star is so richly written, what I wrote about it is only a part of the story I didn't want to end. Ordering another of her books helped with the book hangover, though I'd feel much better if I heard the news Ms. Kinsale was publishing a new novel. In the meantime, I still have eight more of her books to read. Eight more heroes to develop an embarrassing crush on.

  • Kat Desi
    2019-01-16 04:09

    Actually good stuff except I was expecting some epic romance story with all those high rates but then I didn't get it. So there...

  • Naty Levin
    2019-01-19 05:25

    Una vez más me cruzo con uno de esos libros que no se puede dejar de leer ni un segundo. Incluso si la historia avanza lentamente por momentos, incluso si me sobró un poco de toda la cuestión oriental y algunas descripciones. La tensión enorme entre Samuel y Leda y la intriga por saber cómo iban a salir del atolladero emocional en que estaban metidos me tuvo enganchada leyendo. Muy buena historia, totalmente recomendable aunque le haya encontrado algunos puntos flojos. Porque me faltó una charla entre Samuel y Leda para aclarar algo de su pasado, me faltó un poco más de interés de parte de Samuel en el pasado de ella. Me faltó algo de ternura de Samuel hacia Leda, aunque dadas las circunstancias de su infancia y la influencia del japonés en su educación, lo entiendo. Creo que esto habría sido genial y hubiera redondeado una historia perfecta. Así como lo dejo Kinsale, Samuel no puede ascender al podio con Jamie Fraser y Mr Darcy 😝 Cuatro estrellas para esta novela y gracias a Kim por la recomendación !

  • Ashley
    2019-01-22 00:28

    Revising on 1/27/2016. I pretty much became obsessed with this book after I read it, after I found myself still thinking about it for days after having written the review below. I'd initially said it was a 4.5 star read. I've reread parts of this book so many times in the last month that there's no way I could give this anything less than a full 5 stars. My objective self knows it's not nearly as perfect as a book like Flowers from the Storm, but I love it just as much: white ninja, Tiffany necklace, lucky turtle and all. I buddy read this with Melissa and fell hopelessly behind her. She's already written a much better review than I could here. I agree with nearly everything she said, save for the bit about Leda being her favorite Kinsale heroine. Leda's certainly not my least favorite, but she is not my favorite either. The heroine lost me a bit toward the end; she grew bland when so much of her story became about walking on egg shells around Samuel, the hero. There was a lot of trying to intuit his tastes and interpret his silence. In all fairness, Samuel harbored a lot of the same insecurities as her and spent a lot of time over-analyzing and agonizing about the exact same things she did. But Samuel dealt with his insecurities and frustration by pushing Leda away and Leda dealt with these same things by trying harder to please. I actually think this is a natural reaction formost women, and she certainly didn't overhaul her personality for him or anything (no perming her hair and dressing in a leather jumpsuit for the high school carnival situation). All the same, something was tonally off about the ending for me. I can't put my finger on it. In my head Leda would forever be like a little duck, paddling furiously beneath the surface, trying not to upset or displease Samuel. That isn't a reflection of her relationship with Samuel, in my opinion. It was just how her personality, which was very refined and opposed to any sort of disharmony, manifested itself in her marriage. She was loathe to displease or incommode anyone, not just Samuel, from the start, and I think many women can relate to that. Leda was anything but weak; she knew what she wanted and aimed to achieve the peace, solace, and intimacy she and Samuel both wished so badly for. I feel like I wouldn't be even the slightest bit turned off by this if so much of the final chapter hadn't (view spoiler)[ focused on the great lengths she'd gone to in order to furnish the house to Samuel's tastes. I tend to roll my eyes at grand gestures in books and in real life, so ymmv. (hide spoiler)] I'm also probably overthinking this.As for Samuel, what can I say? No one writes heroes like Laura Kinsale does. I was so happy when, halfway through the book, we finally got a present-day POV chapter for Samuel. He was such a mystery for so much of the story. Samuel was so outwardly calm; it was almost jarring to read about his self-loathing and torment once we finally got to see things from his perspective. I highly recommend readingThe Hidden Heart, this novel's prequel, before you begin The Shadow and the Star. While it's not necessary to have read it before starting this story, it definitely made my read of this novel a much richer experience. Lady Tess, the heroine of The Hidden Heart, is a gem in this novel. I tend not to like it when characters from an author's backlist play a prominent role in a new story. It's oftentimes just fanservice, or even worse self-indulgence on the author's part--an excuse to trot out a couple that already got its HEA so that they can wax poetic about how wonderful married life is, and so that readers may ooh and ahh over how fecund this couple has proven to be. Obviously Kinsale is above this sort of thing. Lady Tess and Lord Gryph, from Kinsale's debut novel, are key players in this book but in a way that serves the story. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that they are more or less the hero's parents, and I think any child would be lucky to have parents like them. Overall, this was a terrific, original story. I'd say that the book as a whole would be a 4 for me, but real talk...Chapters 25-28 of this novel were fucking amazing. They made this book a favorite for me all by themselves. It was perhaps the best writing of Kinsale's I've read yet and definitely amongst the best writing I've ever read in general. Kinsale knows how to wring real emotion from me, and her writing in the chapters I mentioned is subtle, beautiful, in some ways romantic and in every way sad. We get to see Samuel and Leda, and even Lady Tess, completely vulnerable. If anyone ever asks me what exactly I mean when I say I love angst in my books, I will point them to these chapters in The Shadow and the Star.

  • Wendy
    2018-12-25 23:06

    The dream team of Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton have pulled off another coup! I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this half as much if I had just been reading it, Ms. Kinsale, talented and clever as she is, writes very complicated stories that send one on an emotional roller coaster, much more enjoyable when read by the wonderfully talented, velvet voiced, versatile Nicholas Boulton.Samuel Gerard is a fabulously handsome, clever, talented but emotionally damaged young man after a childhood of horrendous abuse. The fallout has left him, a man in his late 20's, still a virgin and afraid of his own natural, physical desires. Having been rescued from his nightmare life by Lady Tess whom he adores, he has been brought up in her own family, the wealthy Ashland family, she alone understands his unspeakable earlier life, though not the full extent of his emotional damage. Whilst living in Hawaii with the family, Samuel is taken under the wing of their Japanese butler, Dojun and surreptitiously trained in the ways of eastern martial arts, becoming a skilled warrior. As well as his physical and combatant attributes, Samuel flourishes under the love, acceptance and care of the Ashland family, becoming an astute and wealthy business man in his own right.Samuel has loved Lady Katherine, Lady Tess's daughter who is known by her family as Kai, for as long as he remembers and has waited for her to grow up so that he can marry her. It is an obsession and he does not see her as a sexual figure and has no problem keeping his frustrations under control in her company. This did not come across to me as love and desire in the normal way, more like a habit, a placing of a beautiful object on a pedestal.The family leaves Hawaii and returns to London, Lord Ashland as a British aristocrat and his immediate family are to be honoured guests at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. In the course of dressing the ladies of the family appropriately, they encounter Leda Etoule, an impoverished but genteel young lady, forced to work for a living as a seamstress. Leda is very Victorian in her upbringing, very straight laced and prim, she can't even use the word 'leg' in her vocabulary to a gentleman, can't abide swearing and is painfully correct in her ways. I almost found this irritating but nevertheless it is a part of Leda's characterisation. A series of events sees Leda leaving her employment and working for Samuel as his secretary, she is taken to the bosom of the kindly, generous and unconventional Ashland family. Samuel is very sexually attracted to Leda and his pent up frustrations begin to get the better of him. Eventually, believing Leda to be an experienced young woman, Samuel spends the night with her, she is a complete innocent and unworldly wise, he a virgin also. The bedroom scene is beautifully written and sensual, but somehow Laura Kinsale manages to portray the innocence and fumbling in the scene, which results in a totally believable encounter. The couple are discovered by Lady Tess and after persuading the inexperienced Samuel that Leda was a virgin, he does the honourable thing and they marry albeit with his dreams of marrying Kai in tatters.The story from then on in, is a slow burgeoning and developing of a real, not imaginary love, Leda's understanding and love for Samuel is his salvation. They return to Hawaii, the background plot is tense and quite involved. The butler, Dojun emerges as a character not quite what he seems and Samuel learns some lessons, in my opinion he needed to break from his rigidly controlled existence if he is ever to put his past to rest and live a happy and fulfilled life. Under normal circumstances I would wonder at the success of a union between a passionate, beautiful, talented young man with a rather plain, prim, narrow minded young Victorian woman but this is Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton...anything is possible! Laura Kinsale writes wonderful, sensual, interesting stories, pushing the boundaries to their full extent, what's not to love. It would be impossible to award any less than 5 stars.

  • Margaret
    2019-01-13 04:28

    This is the second Kinsale which grabbed me hard and wouldn't let go. (The first was Flowers from the Storm.) Samuel Gerard has been brought up in Hawaii by a family of English aristocrats who rescued him from childhood abuse; trained by their Japanese butler in the ways of the ninja, he wants nothing more than to marry his foster sister and live chastely with her...until he meets Leda Etoile, a young and proper London woman who has fallen on hard times. The plot is on the bizarre side (hey, it's Kinsale), but the hero and heroine have wonderful chemistry, and the historical details are solid; I particularly enjoyed the bits set in Hawaii, since I know a fair amount about Hawaii in the late 1800s. I also really liked how Leda's conventionality and innocence rang perfectly true for her time, without making her unsympathetically prudish, and how Kinsale worked out the consequences of a particular scene between Leda and Samuel.

  • Kathylill
    2019-01-06 00:09

    This really is a bizarre book but nonetheless I LOVED IT. I don't think anybody else could have written this story as good and convincing. This is a fairy tale regency romance with some heavy elements of Japanese martial arts mythology featuring a scarred virgin alpha-male hero from Hawaii and a very prim and proper orphan seamstress from London. It really has everything what some might not like about bodice ripper romance novels from the 90es: that cover with a half-naked Fabio-lookalike that you most certainly never will be caught dead reading in a public place, the “Dear Sir” and “My Lady” address until the bitter end even though they are married in fucking in a bed, the almost rape at some time, the stalking also known as “Edward Cullen Complex” (watching her sleep from a dark corner of the room) etc… But this book is heartbreaking in its sweetness; it makes you believe in the characters and their feelings and it also is humorous at times. Fluffy historical romance at its best.

  • MashJ
    2019-01-14 03:20

    Based in Victorian England and Hawaii but featuring a slightly bizarre Japanese subplot. About a seamstress and an entrepenuer. The hero has had a horrendous childhood and his difficultly in getting over his experiences is totally comprehensible whereas this is an area where many romance authors really fail- they either don't like the characters to suffer enough to make it realistic or they find difficulty in translating the experiences to the page. Laura Kinsale didn't fail at all and yet she managed to avoid going into unpleasant details. The heroine was brought up in a very prim Victorian household by a spinster gentlewoman and although in many ways she's very steeetwise she's also extremely naive which is very plausible for the time.

  • Summer
    2018-12-26 05:10

    This book became very close to being on my 'hero is a jerk' shelf. That, among a few other quibbles kept this from being a 5 star book. But really Laura Kinsale's writing has impressed me again, especially with how ridiculous the plot is. For starters, the hero is a blond Englishman by birth who has grown up in Hawaii and is a fricking NINJA! Laura Kinsale seems to like creating highly original romance heroes and heroines. However, I found the writing well done and worthy of at least 4 stars, regardless of it's ridiculousness.