Shadow of a Lady
by Jane Aiken Hodge
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Pub Date 20 Sep 2018 | Archive Date 19 Jan 2022
“Marriage,” said Miss Tillingdon, “is a very doubtful blessing. At least for a woman.”
Helen Telfair has sworn never to marry. She turns down countless proposals, but only one she regrets. She is haunted by her connection to the dashing Charles Scroope and her missed opportunity at love.
When her dreams of an independent life are dashed by tragedy and brutality, Helen concedes that marriage is now her only option and enters into a loveless arrangement to save her life.
As the revolution rumbles on, Helen loses sight of the carefree, independent girl she once was. Will she ever have a chance at love again?
Set against the backdrop of the decadent court of Naples and the horror of the Napoleonic wars, Shadow of a Lady will whisk you away in a harrowing tale of heartbreak, secrets, and long-awaited romance.
Shadow of a Lady was first published in 1973.
A Note From the Publisher
If you enjoyed reading Shadow of a Lady, we'd really appreciate seeing your honest review on Amazon. Thank you and happy reading, Agora Books.
Average rating from 11 members
Helen Telfair has an inheritance coming to her, though none of her family or friends knows of it, and for this and other reasons she has determined not to marry. Travelling into the Mediterranean on her naval father's ship for the sake of her mother's health, though, a brutal attack forces her to change her mind and accept a rich and important, though not very bright, man who has been wanting to marry her for most of the voyage. But marriage seems to change him, and not for the better. Taken by him to Naples, Helen unwillingly becomes embroiled in the events surrounding the rise of both Napoleon and Nelson...
Well written and intricate, this book both interested and entertained me. I learnt quite a bit about the happenings of the time period, and was also drawn into the life and trials of Helen Telfair. It's not a quick or light read, but was good for those looking for something a bit more historical and less romantic, though there is definitely still some romance. My biggest problems were the abrupt finish (is there a sequel? it felt almost cliffhangerish) and her attitude towards her son - sometimes they seemed very close, but then she would apparently ignore him for ages. All in all, though, a good read.
Characters: Some I liked, some I hated, some I despised. They were all well drawn, though some were highly unpleasant people - but Helen and a few others made up for it.
Storyline: I'm not sure how to express this, but it felt a bit more like a personalised and expanded history book than a typical novel - a far less straightforward 'story arc' or anything. That being said, I'm not generally a fan of history books and prefer novels, but I found that this had enough personal interest and story that I found it both educational and enjoyable.
Content and language: I would class this book as clean, but readers should be aware that there is a rape scene. However, it is sufficiently vague and non-explicit that I did not find it a problem. As far as I recall, the language was also okay.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Note that I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.