Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Shadowed Heart by Nina Beaumont


THE SHADOWED HEART is an underrated historical classic set in Venice in the 1700s. It's also almost everything I want out of a romance, with echos of tension and danger that at times make it feel like a dark romance. The two main characters are Chiara, a half-Romani girl with noble lineage, and Luca, a noble son from a patrician family.

Chiara wants to kill Luca because she thinks he's the man who assaulted her sister at their camp in Padua. But the man who did that had an aura of evil (btw, the heroine is psychic) and was also a coward (the author makes a point of telling us that he screamed girlishly when she tried to stab him lol). This man reminds her of a predatory Lucifer and as much as she hates him, she's strangely attracted to him too, and that, I think we can all agree, is the absolute best kind of hate in a romance novel.

I loved the Venetian setting and how in-depth the author went into all the history and politics for such a short novel. There was also tons of intrigue and action, and even though I'm not usually into psychic characters in books, like, at all, the author made me not mind it. Although I did personally think it was cheesy and made a lot of things way too neat that otherwise would have been difficult to resolve or explain.

This book fell a little short with me with regards to the ending. I felt like Luca fell into TSTL territory, and since we were let to believe he was actually quite calculating and scheming, this felt extremely out of character for him. So did his huge blindspot regarding his psychopath brother who he knew was a psychopath because he personally had him jailed for SA-ing and murdering the woman he loved. I also liked his character more as the suave and dangerous playboy, and felt like he had become too nice by the end of the book (and I love a nice hero, and all, but that's not the Luca I married in my head!).

Overall, though, THE SHADOWED HEART was absolutely wonderful and I will be reading other books from this author for sure because I am in love with her ability to weave a metaphor.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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