Another great review for Shadow Song

Reprinted from Goodreads.

Lorina Stephens’ Shadow Song is a part-fantasy historical drama/love story, charting the, for lack of a better word, coming-of-age of Danielle Michelle Fleming. The daughter of a beautiful French aristocrat and an English gentleman, and the owner of a gift that European culture/traditions forbids, Danielle is, at the beginning of the novel, feeling her privileged lifestyle slip away, replaced with bitter poverty. The majority of the novel is set in Upper Canada, where Danielle (now an orphan) has been summoned to as ward to her malevolent uncle (the architect of her father’s downfall). It is in Canada that Danielle finds further hardship, because also freedom and love.

I won Shadow Song in the goodreads giveaway, and I’m very thankful that I did. I’m not sure if it is easily assessable in the UK. In any case, I was pretty certain from reading the synopsis that it would be the kind of book I’d enjoy, although perhaps not something I’d buy.

I believe I was expecting a more grown-up version of Celia Rees’ Witch Child and Sorceress, and despite some scenes and themes that were strikingly similar, I think that Stephens’ is a far more accomplished book. Rather than taking the easy and oft used option of creating a light and breezy adventure romance, Stephens has taken on some seriously meaty topics and sewn them together to fashion a mature, robust read. I was struck by how well Stephens painted a picture for readers of the Ojibwa people, and more so how she managed to keep their magic and their mysticism high in realism. I found myself, a sceptic of all things supernatural, accepting it as part of their culture and not to be scrutinized in the same way that perhaps I would do for Christian visions, et cetera. The fantasy part of the novel was not pie in the sky in the slightest – it ran a smooth parallel with life as ordinary people recognise it.

One of the greatest things about this book, I think, is the love story. I won’t call it a romance because that doesn’t do it justice. It is a love story that is so well crafted I felt part of it. Danielle and Shadow Song are soul mates, and I really don’t want anybody reading this to take that in the cheesy way. They are soul mates, and the visions prove it. It was far more real than in pretty much any historical novel I have read (they are usually over-blown and almost humorously erotic) and has true staying power.

A fine novel and well put together for a debut. If I have anything to criticise, it is the beginning, before Danielle reaches Canada. Whilst well written, it takes a while to get into the swing of things and doesn’t, with hindsight, seem to run as smoothly as the rest novel.

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Shadow Song is available in the UK from Amazon and W.H. Smith.
Also available globally through all major online retailers in both print and eBook format, direct from the publisher and in select bookstores in Ontario, Canada.

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