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The Shadow and the Star Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Kinsale ( The Prince of Midnight ) makes a sincere attempt to rise above the standard historical romance by introducing an element of oriental mystery. Sadly, the attempt flounders in its own pretension, and the work is most enjoyable where it is most conventional. Kinsale alternates here between two related stories. One, set in Hawaii, follows young Samuel Gerard, whose childhood has been a nightmare of sexual and physical abuse. Given a home by the benevolent Lady Ashland, he soon becomes the protege of enigmatic Japanese butler Dojun, who coaches Sam in a Japanese system of fighting and self-discipline. In the second story, set in 1880s London, the impoverished but resolutely respectable Leda Etoile learns that Samuel, now full-grown and dazzlingly handsome, is behind a baffling series of thefts marring Queen Victoria's jubilee festivities. Unemployed and without funds, Leda accepts a position as Samuel's secretary and gradually succumbs to his charms. Samuel thinks that he has no interest in Leda, but then he also thinks that Dojun's training was disinterested. He's wrong on both counts.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Magic and beauty flow from Laura Kinsale’s pen.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
“Laura Kinsale has managed to break all of the rules of standard romance writing and come away shining.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
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One has to remember, this was written approx 30 years ago, and is filled with "crazy sauce" and perhaps a turn of phrase that may have raised my eyebrow more than once. We travel back and forth between Samuel's current and past, who shaped him into the Japanese speaking Hawaiian self-made man he is now. I loved the Japanese employee who took him in as his ninja-like prodigy as a damaged boy. I loved the history of Japanese slaves shipped to Hawaii by the wealthy American land owners, these slaves settling and making homes. I loved the British aristocratic family who took in Samuel and raised him as one of their own. I loved the adventure from Regency London to Hawaii.
This is long slow burn. And a heroine who is in love with a hero who is in love with (or thinks) someone else - lots of forlorn pining catnip. And, male virgin catnip. When our characters finally have encounters, sexiest thing ever! This is a relationship you are rooting for, desperate for, through all their challenges, such is the deft build from this author of laying out our characters bare. Beautiful characterisation. And secondary and mentor characters to love.
I bounced from listening to the audible and reading the ebook. The incomparable Nicolas Boulten does an amazing job of setting out the scene and building the characters to life. I recommend the amazing narration to get you over the huge world-building parts earlier in the book. And just because, his voice... (sigh!!)
Excellent, a forever favourite and "Desert Island Keeper"
It's a simply marvelous Victorian era romance. I've reread it many times. I had the paperback and bought the ebook this time. I will read it again. Thank you, Ms Kinsale, for writing this delightful keeper.