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The Shadow and the Star Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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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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Top customer reviews
I won't bore you with plot summary but I will write what I think about this book instead.
When I first read this book a long time ago, I had one tiny problem about it, and that's because I thought Leda was Samuel's second choice. That he only came to love Leda after being forced to marry her. Obviously, as a romantic as I am, I want my heroine to be the one and only to her hero. Then I read the book again for the 2nd time, and I realized there are many scenes in the book that show how 'brotherly' Samuel's feelings to Lady Kai really is.
There's one scene when Samuel tries to picture Lady Kai in an amorous way and he immediately feels sick and wants to gag. That same feeling turns to hot desire the moment he has Leda in mind. That's clue number one.
Then there's another scene where Samuel is showing Leda their new house. Kinsale allows her readers to get into Samuel's thoughts and see that eventhough the house was initially built by Samuel for Lady Kai, he never once thought of sharing the house with her, let alone thought of sharing the same bedroom with her. But with Leda, all he can think of is how wonderful it will be to share everything in the house with her, especially the bedroom :) That's clue number two.
There are many other scenes in the book that clearly show that Leda is Samuel's one and only true choice, even before he himself realizes it.
In the end, I believe the book is more about Samuel than anyone else. He has been through so much abuse in his younger days that it leaves a deep scar in his heart, so much so that he doesn't think he's worthy of any love at all. Leda, with her innocence, her courage to stand by her conviction of right & wrong, and her steadfast love, is perfect for Samuel, purrrfect!!
This is a 'tortured hero saved by heroine' story done right, everybody. Don't wait any longer and just read it, you'll be glad you did.
I've actually read this book years ago and just picked it up again!
A "sigh" worthy historical romance with characters that are complex and engaging. Well deserving of the high rating.