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on November 23, 2014
I recently discovered this wonderful author and am so glad I did. Her writing makes me think of the fairy tales I loved as a child, brought forward into the sensibilities and complexities of modern day. I remember those fairy tales were filled with darkness, sorrow, and pain, as well as hope, love, and magic. That’s also true of this book, “Shadows of the Past.” The dark forest is wondrous. I was of two minds while reading the book. I wanted to rush through to see what happens next, but the other part of me longed to savor each word and phrase. The author is wonderful with her wording and descriptions, especially of the medieval atmosphere and times.
The main characters in the story are well rounded, and each woman deals with her reality and time period as best she can. Genevieve from the 15th century is particularly interesting in her faith and courage in the face of difficult circumstances. By contrast, Anne of today is successful and determined. I appreciate the differences between them as well as the bond they share.
“Shadows of the Past” allows the reader to bask in the ideas surrounding good and evil, strength of character, how external reality sets the stage for our responses, and the enduring power of love. Fate is a word I think of with this book. I could almost see the Three Fates winding our threads as we go about our daily lives of reading, living, and loving. It is a book I’ll read more than once.
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on November 19, 2014
This is a unique story that tells the tale of two different women in two different eras, centuries apart, yet connected through time. Genevieve’s life unfolds in a harsh world of superstition and strife in the 1400s. Anne is a modern business woman trying to repair a relationship with Neil, the man who cheated on her (with her best friend, no less!). While hiking through a forest, Anne and Neil come upon the ruins of an old abbey and discover the bones of a skeleton hidden in a hollow tree.

The author moves deftly between past and present, revealing the lives of both women bit by bit until past collides with present as a murder mystery unfolds. Lush descriptions and intricate historical details bring this story vividly to life. As someone who enjoys both historical and contemporary romance, I found this tale which is intertwined with supernatural undertones, a riveting read. The author’s voice is strong and engaging making for a spellbinding page turner!
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on April 30, 2014
I loved the mix of genres in this unique novel. The pulse of the book was fast the whole way through till the surprising end.
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on November 6, 2014
Review of Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of The Past, published by WildChild Publishing.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
The author’s terrific sense of time, in the time of long ago when witches and superstitions ruled, carried me into a fairytale not unlike the tales told by the Brothers Grimm. This tale, of course, has the innocent and beguiling waif, Genevieve, who is all things pure, sweet, intelligent and unafraid of hard labor. After a childhood of grief and misfortune, Genevieve believes she’s found a safe haven within the walls of an abbey which stands deep in the woods.
An abbey should be a sanctuary, a place of peace and tranquility, but not when it’s ruled by an evil, satanic entity, the Abbess Clementa, whose jealousy drives her to extreme cruelties and murders. Clementa is jealous of Genevieve’s beauty, her piety, and of the love she’s found with a handsome young priest. The couple’s bid for freedom is doomed. Obscene violence and bloody death await the pair of lovebirds when the cruel Abbess has her way.
The frightening fairytale lives on through the centuries in the haunted woods. Evil awaits travelers even now in the present day. On a hike, Anne and her fiancé, Neil, find themselves pawns in a maniacal ghost’s game of retaliation and revenge. Questions arise—why Ann, why Neil? Reincarnation is the answer. You’ll want to ready every word of this macabre tale of love lost, revenge beyond the physical, and love triumphant. Carmen Stefanescu delivers ghostly apparitions, a cunning, blood thirsty antagonist, and plenty of twists and turns in her novel Shadows of The Past.
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on November 21, 2013
I received a free copy of the book from the author for my honest opinion.

Genevieve is a young girl who lived in the 14th century and was dealt a very hard life. She reminded me of the little girl that Shirley Temple played in that movie The Little Princess or her life did. Genevieve lived with this couple who had an inn type place that they ran. She had to get up early in the morning and help in the kitchen and then she had to help make the beds. She was working from daylight till dark. But then she got lucky when a couple of nuns stopped at the inn one night and decided to take her back with them to live at the abbey. With everything she had been through Genevieve decide that she was never going to have anything to do with men ever and the nuns at the abbey had been so good to her over the years that she wanted to be a nun herself. She was very happy as nun for a very long time until a new priest came to town. Genevieve and the priest fell in love with each other but they were not allowed to show or let anyone know how they felt about each because they had made their vows. But after a while and with all the bad things that was going on at the abbey they decided that the best thing for them to do was leave, sneak off in the middle of the night.

Anne a young woman who lived in the present day and time had broken up with the man that she loved a while back. But then one day he shows up on her door step sort of speaking. Anne still being in love with him no matter what had happened between them realized that she couldn't be without him and let him talk her into giving him another chance. So Anne and Neil go on a vacation. They get lost on the way to their hotel and spend the night in the mountains. They find an old abbey that has all but fell completely down. While they are at this old abbey Anne starts having these vision or dreams about this young girl. Anne feels or just knows somehow that vision was real. Anne wants to help this girl/ghost to move on so that she can be happy. Anne finds some old bones in an old oak tree and sets out to find out whose bones they are.

Shadows of the Past tells of two young girls who live in two different time periods whose lives eventually end up joining. I like to read stories where you get more than one person's point of view especially with the past and the future collide with each other in some way or another. If you have not read Shadows of the Past and you enjoy reading historical romance with a little suspense thrown in then you are going to love Shadows of the Past. If you like Shirley Temple then you will love Genevieve as well. Hey give it a try who knows you just might like it I did. But of course I love Shirley Temple too.
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on December 4, 2016
This review and more can be seen at GothicMoms.blogspot.com

Everything that makes up a great Gothic Romance; ill-fated love, heart wrenching tragedies, mysterious happenings, and more than a flare of the paranormal, all are here within Shadows of the Past.

Readers will find themselves being pulled into the past right along with the main character, as she is doomed to suffer from her past life. A life that was filled with more strife and loss than any one person should be forced to bare. And a vindictive witch determined to destroy her happiness in every life, at any cost.

I'll keep this review short, as to say too much would give away too much of the story itself. Just know that this is truly a must read if you are a indeed a lover of Gothic Romance. Warning: This novel is definitely not for the faint of heart, and you had better have a box of Kleenex nearby. Stefanescu has a way with words, making the reader feel as though they hearing a true story, and have their hearts broken right along with the characters as they deal with a past that is destroying their present lives.
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on August 30, 2013
This book was a little odd for me. I enjoyed the paranormal aspects, but found that the back and forth between Anne and Genevieve took a little away from the story.

Although, I found myself really interested in Anne's portion. I think I may have enjoyed this more if we had maybe found out about Genevieve in some other way. Instead of it just handed to us in time lapses. Plus the time lapses are a bit strange also. One minute we're with Genevive when she's older then we're with Anne, then Genevive when she's younger. Totally threw me.

But the plot did keep me interested. Again, more for Anne's side of the story. I didn't really enjoy reading about Genevieve, maybe because she was just so perfect. But as the book gets closer to the climax I enjoyed both very much! The horror aspects of course were right up my alley, but the villain didn't seem like much of a villain, I wanted more from her.

As for paranormals this was an unusual but interesting book. Sort of ended on a cliff hanger. I almost wish it would have just let things go the way they did and then surprised us in book two, but it does have me wondering what is going to happen next, so that is a good thing.
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on April 22, 2014
Carmen Stefanescu weaves a story that ties a tragedy from the 1400's to a present day couple. Justice and closure take half a millennium to come to fruition.

Genevieve is a child that meets a harsh set of circumstances in the 1400's. Everyone she comes to care about meets with a horrible fate. Each time it seems she's found some semblance of happiness it's torn away. Under the most bizarre happenstance she finds her true love.

Moving forward 500 years we meet Anne. Her unsettled life is haunted by feelings and visions she tries desperately to unravel. The knocks in her love life come together as she fights through this ghostly mystery. I don't want to issue spoilers.

This book has elements of romance and horror that made it a fun read for me. I lean toward horror, usually, but found this tale captivating. It certainly moves along with well-crafted prose and finishes with a satisfying ending.
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It isn't often that I put a book in my "I must read this again pile." I read so much that I usually won't read a book more than once because I am always ready to move on to the next one I haven't experienced yet. This is one of those rare times when I know I will read this book again.

I am a huge history buff and I adore historical fiction. This is historical plus a lot more. This book has an exciting plot with a paranormal twist that is so well done that it doesn't leave you rolling your eyes like so many of the paranormal romances of recent memory have done. I fell into this book hard and never wanted to leave.

Although I enjoyed Anne and her role in the book as a contemporary character, I was completely drawn into the story and fascinated all the way to the end by the story of Genevieve and Andrew. This is the kind of love story that is timeless and makes you feel warm inside. I was happy while reading this.

Although from the cover of this book it would seem that it is more adult in nature, this novel would also be appropriate for a YA audience. The romance is believable and beautiful, but is never too steamy. The mystery of the connection between Anne and Genevieve is really the heart of this book, and it is a supremely written mystery at that. You can't quite figure it all out until the very end and even then, on the very last page there is more to think about.

Carmen Stefanescu has written a love story for those of us who know what that really means. If you have high expectations for your romance novels and expect to see characters with plenty of development, life and purpose then this is the book for you. When you read this novel, you feel you have entered another world. Stepping back in time through Carmen's descriptions and research, this was an incredible journey.

I would recommend this book to everyone YA audience and over. One of the best romances ever.
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on January 23, 2014
This is a lovely story that merges the past and the present, magic and the mundane and superstition with the supernatural. I’m a fan of historical stories, paranormal stories and above all love stories and with this one I get all those elements and much more. Basically it is like getting two stories in one, a touching love story that transcends time. Of course I expect my heroines to overcome adversity and this story is sewn together with a spectacularly, surprising ending, hinting at more to come perhaps. This author has written well-developed characters and distinctive details. She also introduces readers to a truly creepy cursed forest that will make me look differently at trees from now on. I loved that there was personal growth, mystery, grief and romance. Life contains a little bit of everything and so do truly compelling stories. If you are looking for a unique, intense tale that will leave you in tears and laughter then this is a story for you.
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