Review: Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale

Posted May 14, 2007 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 10 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

Isabel’s review of Shadowheart (Medieval Hearts #2) by Laura Kinsale.

Allegreto, the charismatic young assassin from For My Lady’s Heart, takes center stage in this much-anticipated follow-up by New York Times-bestselling author Laura Kinsale. Known for her compelling, complicated characters, thrilling love stories, and rich historical background, Kinsale outdoes herself in Shadowheart. The dangerous and dashing Allegreto wants nothing more than to regain his rightful place in the rich Italian principality of Monteverde. Happily, the means to do so have just emerged — in the form of the young Lady Elena (also known as Elayne), newly discovered to be the long-lost Monteverde princess and sole heir to the kingdom. Though she is promised to his rival, Allegreto seizes her ship, takes Elena prisoner, and weds her, thus beginning their battle of wits and passion. While Elena is a naïve young woman when the book begins, by journey’s end she becomes Allegreto’s equal and, sometimes, master, reuniting the kingdom in the process.

I tried people. I really tried to finish Shadowheart but I can’t.

It started off really slow. I was on chapter 3 and I was ready to close to the book but I didn’t. It started to pick up once the hero of the book made his entrance but it wasn’t really enough to keep me interested in it. It was just really dry and slow going.

Elena finds out she’s a princess. Her guardian ships her back home to marry some guy. On the way, her ship is taken by pirates. Enter the hero. Turns out he smuggled her out of her homeland in the first place. She has faint memories of him and because she dreamed about him, she thought he was her guardian angel.

She tells Allegreto she does not want to marry the guy who is waiting for her, that she’ll do anything to not marry him. She wakes up with an awful headache and spots of blood on her sheets. A maid tells Elena she is now married and it was consummated. Elena is furious but tells everyone that yes, she wanted the marriage. It’s that or become soiled goods. Turns out the marriage wasn’t consummated. He made it seem like it was. Ok…

But the first time they do have sex, is not pretty. He doesn’t exactly force her but she fights him. She bites him and struggles. He doesn’t do anything to really soothe her or make it nice. It’s like it turned him on even more. And what I mean when I say he didn’t force her, he started off by kissing her and she realizes she likes it, that she is wanton. That’s when she struggles.

So I don’t know. I wanted to give this book another week to read but I’m just kind of tired of forcing myself to read it. Ames and someone else said the book is really good so I’ll try again later to read it. So for now, it’s upgradeable.

Grade: DNF

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can purchase it here.

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10 responses to “Review: Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale

  1. I’ve had this one sitting on the TBR pile for ages and ages. I really do like Kinsale but I couldn’t get through For My Lady’s Heart despite 3 attempts. But I didn’t want to read Shadowheart without reading FMLH – but I think I’m going to have to. Even though this one is a DNF for you – I really do want to give it a try.

  2. I want to finish it, I just can’t get through it right now.

    I’ll try again later. Cause it did start picking up.

  3. I managed to get to the next sex scene before deciding I couldn’t finish the book. (and I think that is the thing with Allegreto, he does need pain during sex and Elena discovers she likes hurting him) Like you, I figure I’ll get back to it at some point. My problem was that I had read For My Lady’s Heart right before it and I was overwhelmed by all the drama.

    On that note, FMLH was a keeper and it did take a bit to get into it.


  4. “Yes, I know I’m a simpleton who just doesn’t “get” the sheer majesty of Kinsale’s writing and somehow I can still live with myself.”

    ha! exactly!!

  5. Wendy

    It’s her writing style for me – way too literary. I sort of feel like I’m “reading in circles” for lack of a better description. I made it to page 150 of Flowers From The Storm and gave up. Started waving the white flag.

    I had a couple more by her in my TBR, and surfed through a few pages. When I saw the writing style was consistent with FFTS, they hit the UBS bag.

    Yes, I know I’m a simpleton who just doesn’t “get” the sheer majesty of Kinsale’s writing and somehow I can still live with myself.

  6. “Yes, I know I’m a simpleton who just doesn’t “get” the sheer majesty of Kinsale’s writing and somehow I can still live with myself.”

    Sorry, you don’t get off that easy. Some of her books are way out there. Like way 😉 The first book I liked by her was FFTS and then FMLH and after that, I can’t remember her other books. So she is definitely a hit or miss depending on what you feel like.


  7. That’s too bad you couldn’t finish this novel. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to finish FMLH to read Allegreto’s story. These are the only two Kinsale’s I’ve read. I’m somewhat worried to read Flowers from the Storm. 😛

  8. Yup, it was the writing style also that I couldn’t get into. It was just…wordy, flowery…. I dunno. Wendy, I guess I’m a simpleton too. lol

  9. Chantal

    Hey, how did I miss this review??
    The book sounds good, so I’m sorry you couldn’t get through it.
    I know what it’s like to not be able to finish a book that everyone else enjoys.

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