Shadow Music by Julie Garwood
Series: Highlands Lairds #3
Also in this series: Ransom, The Secret (Highlands' Lairds #1), Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2), Shadow Music
Publication Date: December 30, 2008
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"Action, drama, desire, revenge: Shadow Music includes all the necessary ingredients for romantics to plunge into the moors, mountains and magical myth of medieval Scotland."--The Roanoke Times
Prized for her exquisite beauty, Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, the daughter of one of England's most influential barons, is a perfect bargaining chip for a king who needs peace in the Highlands: King John has arranged Gabrielle's marriage to a good and gentle laird. But this marriage will never take place.
Upon her arrival in Scotland, Gabrielle is immediately entangled in Highland intrigue, as a battle royal flares between enemies old and new. For two sadistic noblemen, underestimating Gabrielle's bravery and prowess may prove fatal. Colm MacHugh, the most feared man in Scotland, makes no such mistakes about the captivating princess. Under his penetrating gaze, neither Gabrielle's body nor her heart is safe.
"No one does historical romance better than Garwood. . . . Gabrielle is an enchanting heroine."--The State (Columbia, S.C.)
"A compelling historical romance."--Publishers Weekly
This book was a huge disappointment to me. Not b/c it was bad. It really wasn’t. It just is not what I expect when I pick up a Garwood historical. Basically, my expectations were too high.
When Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel travels to the Highlands to marry a Scottish laird, she is prepared to do her duty to her father, her country, and her King. Everything changes during one fateful moment in which Gabrielle kills a man to save another. Taking the injured man to the abbey in which she is staying, she has no idea how this one act will change her future.
Laird Colm MacHugh thought his brother was dead. When he can’t find Liam’s body, Colm has hope that his brother has somehow escaped. After being told the news that Liam was hurt, but recovering at the abbey, Colm travels there as quickly as possible. He has little notion of how his life will change once he lays eyes on Lady Gabrielle.
When Gabrielle’s character is horrifically maligned and she is exiled, Colm offers her sanctuary. As a favor to Brodick Buchanan who is related to Gabrielle through marriage, Colm intends to marry Gabrielle thus dispelling the vicious lies that were spread about her.
Of course relationships are never easy in a Garwood historical and Shadow Music was no exception.
I’ll say what I liked before I go into what I disliked. Gabrielle was a typical Garwood heroine. She was strong, independent, feminine yet she could outshoot any man with her bow and arrow. As all the heroines before her, Gabrielle had a unique yet endearing quality. Though she would seem to agree w/ anything Colm told her to do, she had a habit of agreeing then taking her four guards (a St. Biel tradition) and trying to leave Colm’s land. There was an amusing priest, a set of twin boys who couldn’t stay out of trouble, and a meddling younger brother. There was witty dialogue, though not as much as I expected.
One word can describe what I didn’t like about this book: inconsistencies. There were so many of them, it threw me out of the book every time. Colm agreed to marry Gabrielle, which would be returning a favor to Brodrick for his help in locating Liam. Yet while Colm and Brodick were searching for Liam, it was told that Brodrick was returning a favor for when Colm went with him to get Gillian in Ransom. So that made no sense. Then when Brodick was recalling what happened in Ransom, he implied that it was Ramsey Sinclair’s brother that was abducted by the English when we very well know that it was Iain and Judith Maitland’s son. I didn’t like it. If Garwood is going to connect books, she can at least get her facts straight. It’s somewhat of an insult if she thought readers wouldn’t notice.
Another thing that was disappointing to me was the lack of romance. There really wasn’t much romance in this book. Of course both Gabrielle and Colm were attracted to each other. Colm had the usual arrogant Laird thought that to love was a weakness. Yet beyond that, there was little interaction between the two, beyond the superficial. There was also the confusion of St. Biel. I continue to have no idea where this fictional place was. In the Prologue, it seemed as though it took place in St. Biel, yet Gabrielle told Colm that her mother left St. Biel when she married her father, who is an English Baron. More inconsistency.
I really could go on, but I’m sure you all get the picture. Of course if Garwood comes out with another historical, I still plan on reading it. Though I may just have to get it at the library.
3 out of 5.