Shadow Music (Ballantine) by Julie Garwood marks her return to the historical romances that made her famous, and for which her legions of fans have been clamoring for several years. Princess Gabrielle doesn't know it yet, but she's about to be in the midst of a battle for her hand. One man wants her for his bride, but he's not very nice, nor are his motives romantic. Another, perfectly nice, if one doesn't mind never meeting one's groom, has the king's approval. And then there's Colm MacHugh, who winds up with the lady in question. This one got off to a slow start, I thought, though there'll be plenty of action and adventure later in the story for those who enjoy that--there's mythical treasure here, maybe, and plenty who'll fight to find it. The historical details make the story come alive, and those of you who're regular readers know my fondness for Scottish settings. But this one didn't really grab me. After the slow beginning, which has scenes that hop around to various locales and characters, I just didn't find myself engaging with Gabrielle or Colm as a romance reader hopes to do. This one is also not especially hot, which left me disappointed as well. Perhaps my reading tastes have simply changed since Ms. Garwood left historicals to write contemporaries a number of years ago, but I used to enjoy her historical romances quite well. But this one is just not a keeper for me. It's earned only three of Cupid's five arrows. I'm sure some of her die-hard fans will disagree, but I just didn't fall in love.
Until next time, happy reading!