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Shadow Music

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Member Reviews

I would like to begin by thanking NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ebook. I did not realize this was a book from a series when I began to read it but I was quick to discover this as there were so many characters that were not given a backstory so I felt rather lost. So I bought the two previous books on Amazon and read them! Wow! For this reason, I haven't written a review for so long. I really enjoyed reading the trilogy! Everything was so smooth, so melodious! It was like I was playing the piano myself!

Maggie is the main character and she has faced many hardships yet still manages to love deeply. This is a book that covers murder, mystery, suspense, grief, love and starting over. This may seem like a lot for one book but the author manages to weave all of these things into one book.  I had a great time reading a book. The storylines are beautifully written. The characters turned out to be very convincing. I expected to get romantic prose, but it turned out much better! I got real emotions!

Thanks again!
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Shadow Music is an entertaining mystery thriller with a touching love triangle involving Maggie, the heroine of the novel; her long-lost ex-husband; and her new lover. There are great storylines about a valuable, lost Van Gogh painting, a missing boy, and the long-ago murder of a young mother that all come together perfectly at the end, The heroine is a classical musician, and I enjoyed living in that world, as well as learning things about 20th century European history. This is a really good, fun read.
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this was a wonderfully done mystery novel, the characters were great and I enjoyed the way the author writes. The world was really well done.
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I've added Helaine Mario to my 'must read' author's list. Her masterful manipulation of plot and characters is symphonic blend of mystery, music, and machinations of both good and evil. She is an artist with words.

SHADOW MUSIC may seem more like a standalone then, suddenly, the pieces start to fall into place. Like DARK RHAPSODY, SHADOW MUSIC is as much about art as it is about music. I am loath to even introduce the characters as I review these books because I am afraid of giving something away. Maggie O'Shea is a complicated woman dealing with sorrow, loss, and fear as she stands strong against mysterious adversaries. Meeting the other characters is an integral part of the adventure.

Maggie is practicing Rachmaninoff's piano concerto #2 throughout the book. One night, while reading, I found myself saying "Alexa, play Rachmaninoff's piano concerto #2." I confess it was a little distracting, but after a short while, listening definitely enhanced the story.

Once you get about halfway through the book, you will find that putting it down to do something as mundane as sleeping will be impossible. You will put it aside, turn off the light, toss and turn a bit, turn the light back on, pick up the book and read to the very end. You will enjoy the music, you will contemplate the art, and you will be choked with emotion as tears trickle down your cheek. Yes, this book is that good!

Although the blurb says these books can be read as standalones, and in any order, I do recommend that you read them in the order listed - THE LOST CONCERTO, DARK RHAPSODY, SHADOW MUSIC - in order to appreciate the intricate development of the series. It is my sincere hope that more books will follow.
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When I first started reading Shadow Music I couldn’t help but wonder if I needed to have read the first 2 books in Helaine Mario’s Maggie O’Shea series, I felt the initial few chapters jumped around and presumed previous knowledge.  However this concern soon abated, I was captured by Maggie’s story. The story is full of strong characters – some you love easily and some equally unlovable.  With the threads of music and art winding their way through the story, we become immersed in the Maggie’s quest to find out if her husband is alive, while at the same time following the quest for Van Gogh’s “Shadow Music” painting, which had been lost in the Nazi’s blitz against the Jews in WWII, and was being hunted by a number of (mostly evil) people for various reasons.  Despite all Maggie goes through, her love both for her lost husband Johnny and now for Michael Beckett is stoic, and her passion for her music returns despite all the hardships and tests she faces.

My advice to anyone who plans to read Shadow Music – take the time to read “The Lost Concerto” and “Dark Rhapsody” first – I wish I had, and I plan to rectify this error in the very near future!

My thanks to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for allowing me to read this beautiful book in return for my unbiased review.
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I didn't realize that this book was one of a series about Maggie O'Shea which made the beginning and some of the references a bit jumbled at first.  However, once I got into the story, I couldn't put it down.  The mystery of an undiscovered Van Gogh was fascinating and the intrigue around its origins well developed.  It's a great diverting read with some good surprises and twists.
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Maggie O'Shea, a world renowned pianist has finally mentally recovered from the death of her husband 18 months earlier in an explosion that sank his boat in the Mediterranean.  Finding life and love again with Michael Beckett, a former military man who has his own haunting past, Maggie is suddenly stalked by the Russian Mafia who believe that her deceased husband told here where a famous Van Gogh painting missing since 1942 is hidden.  Author Mario weaves the stories of Maggie and her husband Johnny with that of Beckett and his promise to care for the grandson of his deceased Vietnam buddy.  The grandson, Dov, is also a target of the Russian Mafia and Mario weaves these seemingly disparate stories into a cohesive narrative.  This is the third book in the series about Maggie O'Shea and the ending hints at yet another adventure awaiting Magggie.
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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Maggie is on the trail of a painting that she hopes will help her find her husband's murderer. The more she digs, the more she becomes a target.
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In 1985 Donata Kardos and her infant goddaughter escaped from Hungary.  The infant was the granddaughter of a famous composer who had been in possession of a lost Van Gogh.  During the escape the child’s mother was killed and Donata disappeared with the child and the painting.  In the present, Maggie O’Shea, the widow of a noted journalist, is drawn into the hunt for the missing painting.  Her husband Johnny had been in contact with Donata shortly before his death.  His last interview was with Yuri Belankov, a wealthy Russian living in Washington who collects art.  Yuri believes that he is the father of the child who escaped with Donata and finding her will finally reveal the location of the Van Gogh.  He is a dangerous man who arranged an encounter with Maggie hoping to discover what her husband knew.

Maggie is a concert pianist who lost the ability to concentrate on her music after her husband’s death.  It has been well over a year and she is finally performing again.  With the support of Michael Bennett she has also found love.  Contacted by someone in her past, she discovers that Johnny may still be alive.  While Michael is her current love, she also has feelings for her lost husband and sets off to find the truth.  Michael has a quest of his own.  The daughter of a friend who saved him in Viet Nam has been murdered and he has to find her missing teenage son.  She had worked for the Russian mafia and passed information to her son shortly before her death.  Now Michael searches the streets of New York to find him and offer him protection.

Maggie displays passion not only for her music, but also for the men in her life.  She has finally emerge from the grief that almost destroyed her and she is stronger and more determined not only to find the truth, but also to master a difficult piece of music.  As she works to achieve her goals Helaine Mario merges each of the story lines into a final showdown.  Along with Maggie, Mario offers strong characters.  Michael runs a ranch that offers rehabilitation for veterans.  Despite his past, he feels ill-equipped to deal with a teenager who refuses his help.  Yevgeny witnessed his mother’s murder and is distrustful of the help being offered.  The one thing that brings them together is Shiloh, Michael’s dog with an attitude and personality that no one can resist.  Mario’s characters and the surprising twists that she offers make this a story that hits all of the right notes.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for making this book available for my review.
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I did not realize when I requested this book that it was the third in a series. Nevertheless, that fact did not prevent me from enjoying the story. There was enough reference to the back story from the previous adventures to keep me engaged. The prologue starts at the end of the Cold War when a young girl escapes from Russian occupied Hungary with an infant girl and a priceless piece of art. Then the first chapter jumps to the present time when we are introduced to Maggie O’Shea who becomes embroiled in a mystery involving the Russian mafia, music, the stolen Van Gogh painting and enough suspense to keep me turning the page. Thanks to Netgalley and Oceanview Publishing for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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It’s nice to see Maggie O’Shea again. She’s still as strong and reliable as ever. Her relationship with Beckett is going strong and she’s successful in her career as a pianist. The death of her husband is still a sore spot, but things are going back to normal when she gets involved in another historical mystery. This time it’s a lost Van Gogh. Her late hubby may have known where it was and he could have told her. He didn’t, but three shady Russians don’t know that. I like how Maggie is older than your typical heroine and this time she’s not the only resourceful woman around. I liked the discussions about philosophy, art and history. I especially enjoyed when Maggie plays the piano and the reader sees the music through her eyes. I also loved Shiloh the dog and all the animals in the story. I wasn’t too crazy about the dialogues, which sound a little contrived, or the way the plot relies heavily on coincidence. Sometimes I was worried about what was going to happen to a character, but the situation resolved in an anticlimactic manner. That said, this is the perfect mystery for art and music lovers, as well as history buffs. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Oceanview Publishing!
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This mystery is complicated and a bit slow in the initial few chapters.  It does have some parts that drew me in and kept me reading.  I didn't know at the time this was the 3rd book in a series.  It probably would have helped to read the first two and become more invested  in the characters.  

I received an advanced readers copy from Net Galley for my unbiased review.
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Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley. I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this review, and the thoughts and opinions included here are mine and mine alone.

My short review of this book is simple: I wanted to like this more than I did. If GoodReads or NetGalley allowed for half-stars, then this would get a 2.5/5. As it is, I prefer to round up, so I'm going with 3/5. 

The long review? Well, there's an interesting story here, and Helaine Mario does a standup job of breaking her narrative into initially separate arcs that weave together at the end, much like a well-made basket. Some of the plot points are a bit fanciful, but part of the joy of reading fiction is letting the author lull you into suspending your disbelief, and Helaine Mario was successful in achieving that. To me, that's sufficient for a 3-star rating. 

My problem with this book, then, is the dialogue. Human beings do not speak the way that Helaine Mario's characters do. Here's one particularly egregious example, from approximately page 110: 

"Time we even the odds," Beckett muttered to the Shiloh, "But no more prison brawls. It's time for age and treachery to overcome youth and skill. So how about we resurrect our 'Good Cop Bad Dog' routine?"

Every single character talks like this, though some of them have certain markers to give them their own voices. Johnny constantly calls Maggie "Lass" (y'know, because he's Irish, and Irish men call their wives "Lass"), the Russians tend to sprinkle Russian phrases into their speech (along with multiple explicit reminders that they are Russian, just in case we forgot), and Dov speaks with a New York accent (or should I say a "New York" accent). Regardless, they are all prone to conversing in this most purple of prose, and while it lets up a bit toward the end of the book, it definitely makes the first ~200 pages a bit of a slog. The writing in general is a bit precious for my taste, even outside of the dialogue. 

Additionally, all of the characters in Shadow Music, regardless of age, gender, nationality, or other personal characteristics, are stated to be extremely, conspicuously attractive, to an extent that borders on distracting. To be fair, though, it's a relief to know that in the Maggie O'Shea universe, I, a solid 6 out of 10 on a good day, would have nothing to fear vis a vis involvement in international criminal conspiracies. 

On a more positive note, certain aspects of this book (particularly some of the letter and diary entries in the later chapters) were very well-written and filled with nuance, pathos, and gravitas. I wish that similar style had been applied to more of the book, but it was good to read anyway, and was deployed effectively to provide both relevant background to the characters as well as resolution to the story. 

I didn't know going into this that it was book #3 in a series. It's entirely possible that someone who has read the first two books and is more familiar with Helaine Mario's writing style and characterization choices might love this book, and to that person I say godspeed and happy reading. Maybe you happen to enjoy overly florid descriptions and dialogue schmaltzier than my Bubbe's cooking, and if so, this is the book for you. 

To summarize, I enjoyed the plot, setting, and interconnection of narrative elements, and did not enjoy the dialogue and certain aspects of the characterization.
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This is a well-done murder mystery, lost art, music filled story that has a steller opening. The first chapter pulls you in and really doesn’t ever let you go. There are a few scenes that I felt were past the believability point but otherwise the storyline flows well and all the characters are well defined. 
I especially liked Maggie, Michael, Dov and of course we can’t leave out Shiloh and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book. Quick easy read with a nice ending. 
I received an ARC from Oceanview Publishing along with NetGalley for my honest review. This one comes in with 4 stars.
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Not quite the story I presumed to be liked. In my perspective, this book is just an ordinary
Mystery & thriller-themed story that does not have any unique factor.

A young woman was killed by Russian soldiers, she was carrying her daughter and a priceless
painting which is now in the hands of a nun. This is the past that changes the lives of
generations to come. In the present day, Maggie thought she had a new life now that her
previous husband is dead. She had found new love and found her music again. Everything
changes when she knew that her late husband, Johnny might still be alive. Little did they know
that her late husband is investigating about the missing painting of Van Gogh before he was
presumed killed. Russian smugglers think that Johnny had solved the mystery of finding the
missing painting and have told Maggie its location before he was killed. Thus, start the cat and
mouse chase of good vs bad.

I get how the story was vivid, creative, and complex. Characters do not portray who they truly
are at first. It is like in real life that it takes a long time to get to know someone and the
characters in this book are the same. I like how they can portrait more than what you had first
thought about who they are. It is not common for me to like the characters and hate the story, it
usually the other way around. I get that it is not for me but still appreciate the good work on how
this book came from.
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Shadow Music is the third book in a series of mysteries.  Maggie O'Shea is a classical pianist who inadvertently get wrapped up in an international crime ring.  She is not sure who she can trust, but she makes some new friends along the way, all while keeping up with her love interest and her career as a musician.

I have not read the two books that precede this story.  For me, that made the book a bit clunky.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I only had to differentiate between the new characters.  For me, it was hard to keep track of all the original characters and even until the very end of the book, I was confusing three principal Russian characters.

This book has some thrilling moments and does a wonderful job of personalizing history.  The story line has an intriguing concept and the book is pretty light.  No gruesome elements here.  It won't keep you up at night.  It also has a bit of closed door romance.

For me, this book fell flat.  Maybe it was because I hadn't read the other two books, but the story was hard for me to follow until the very end.  I would have appreciated more depth from some of the characters.  I really appreciate how well the author wove history with modern day themes.  Also, she philosophizes about religion a little bit but definitely from the perspective of someone who does not have religious experience.  I found some of the statements by the priest to be quite heretical.

All in all, this book was not for me.  I finished it but I won't be seeking out the other two books in the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Oceanview Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book in exchanged for my honest opinion.
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I’m not sure that I really understood the plot of this book. I kept going back and checking to see if I had missed something. I felt that this book could have done with some more editing or some rewrites? Again. Just my opinion.
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Shadow Music
Helaine Mario

Book 3 staring Maggie O’Shea is simply amazing atmospheric and poignant full of danger suspense and most of all music. In her author’s note Helaine Mario tells readers that she wants them to fall into Maggie’s story and that is exactly what they’ll do, body and soul. 

Budapest 1985: An escape attempt to the west turns tragic when a young woman is killed by Russian soldiers leaving her best friend a nun to make the crossing with the woman’s now motherless infant daughter and priceless treasures from the past.

Present day: World renowned concert pianist, Maggie O’Shea has finally found her music again and has found love again with Colonel Michael Beckett after the tragic death of her husband, Johnny, almost two years before. She’s even considering performing the beautiful and difficult Rachmaninoff Concerto 2 with The New Russian Symphony Orchestra after being asked by their tour arranger Yuri Blankov until she’s visited by a past adversary who tells her that Johnny may still be alive leaving her no choice but to go and find out.
Colonel Michael Beckett has his own problems dealing with the murder of his late best friend’s daughter and finding her missing son, Dov. Never the less he doesn’t want Maggie to go off searching for Johnny but loves and knows her enough to know that there’s no stopping her, even when they learn from their friend and government agent Simon Sugarman that the last case Johnny was working on, a missing Van Gough painting has come to light again.

Helaine Mario takes readers on an incredible journey through time and music with, Shadow Music, her latest novel staring Maggie O’Shea. 
Beginning with this master storyteller’s prologue set in late cold war Budapest to a huge plot bomb she drops early in the story to the very last page the action never stops and the speed never slows enough for the audience to catch their breaths between one crisis and another and yet they’re often gifted to the mundane minutia that makes everyday life such a treasure like a sunset, an ocean breeze or a cherished memory. Her wonderful, expressive prose like narrative flows beautifully and her deliciously thrilling storyline will keep her audience engaged and engrossed, excited to connect all the ingenious convoluted plot dots. Her characters are the glue that binds this novel and not only fan favorites like Maggie, Michael, Sugar, Robbie and of course Michael’s three-legged dog Shiloh, but also the newcomers like the troubled teen Dov and even the bad guys. But it’s Maggie and Michael that are, as always, the true standouts, how their love Phoenix like rose from the ashes of their pasts, so inspiring and now maybe in trouble. Then there’s the music, oh the music, and this story focuses on Rachmaninoff and his Piano Concerto 2 one of the most celebrated and difficult works for piano and how Maggie in between personal pitfalls, dodging danger and bad guys manages to bring it to life. Music is at the heart and soul of every one of Helaine’s Maggie O’Shea books and Shadow Music is the perfect Cadence for her (so-far) three-part symphony.
Brava! 

Shadow Music stands well alone but for deeper character and storyline understanding read the novels, The Lost Concerto, Dark Rhapsody and Shadow Music in order. 
Fans of women’s fiction, romantic suspense and fans of Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen and Sandra Brown will love Shadow Music and Helaine Mario.
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I didn't get very far into this book before giving up - it just didn't capture my attention. The formatting also seemed off about it, and that made it challenging to read.
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I truly enjoyed this wonderful book. The characters are rich and multifaceted, and make you want to continue turning page after page! 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this title early and review!
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