The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Silent Touch of Shadows was my final holiday read and it definitely left me with book withdrawal symptoms. Time slip and historical novels are not generally my first choice – and now I have no idea why that would be. This author has definitely convinced me I must read more. Set in the present and fifteenth century Kent, the story centres on Melissa, a genealogist attempting to move on with her life and provide for her daughter after an acrimonious divorce. That her ex-husband has a family with the ‘other woman’ and a baby on the way, is a nice touch, I think. Truly, this is the final hurt when you’re trying to let go of the memories you once thought were precious to you both. Melissa, on moving into an Ancestral home at the invite of her aunt, finds herself haunted by troubling dreams, all the more disturbing when the essence of the man in those dreams, a handsome knight pleading for her help, lingers when she wakes. Jake, local vet and single father, who bears a striking resemblance to her tortured knight, is also disturbed by frighteningly real dreams, the subject of his being Sibell, who after the death of her young husband is forced to move back home, where her abusive father is adamant she will remarry a much older man, thereby improving the family status and fulfilling her daughterly obligations. Sibell’s heart though now belongs to another: Roger, our tortured knight.
The switch between present day and sixteenth century is done seamlessly and quite beautifully. At no point did it jar, thus allowing the reader to engage fully with the characters. Obviously, that these troubled souls were haunting our modern day couple meant that there perhaps wouldn’t be the ‘typical’ happy ending and there is an incident that is quite emotionally jarring. One pauses to digest but the pieces fall into place and you begin to realise what our lost spirits might need to allow them to rest in peace. I have to say, I’m in awe of the research, both historical and in regard to the genealogy aspect. This is a beautiful, haunting, intelligently written romance. If you’ve shied away from historical, I would highly recommend The Silence of Shadows. I promise you won’t be disappointed.