Beneath a Crescent Shadow

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Pub Date Jun 04 2024 | Archive Date Jun 18 2024

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After an arranged marriage, Konstantin and Suzana must find a way to meet the demands of a conquering Ottoman sultan amid a torrent of setbacks and dangers much closer to their Balkan home.

The Balkans, 1373

A devastating battle claimed the lives of Konstantin’s father, uncle, and most of their Serb army, leaving him to rule as a vassal of the Ottoman sultan, a role he is wholly unprepared for. Between war, famine, and a persistent band of brigands, Konstantin is nearly bankrupt. He will need to find a wealthy bride to marry if he is to have any hope of saving his lands and securing his future.

A betrothal to Suzana, the daughter of a prosperous merchant, is soon arranged, and upon meeting her, Konstantin immediately feels hope that their marriage could someday grow into love. Yet from the moment of Konstantin and Suzana’s betrothal, enemies threaten their lives, outlaws prey on their lands, and the terrors of Suzana’s abusive past haunt their fragile new relationship. As this onslaught of threats closes in, the two face challenges that will test their love, their faith, and their hope to save their people and win their freedom from the heavy weight of Ottoman oppression.

The Balkan Legends Series:
After the Crescent Strike, A Prequel Novella
Beneath a Crescent Shadow, Book One
Beyond the Crescent Sky, Book Two (coming January 2025)
Against a Crescent Storm, Book Three (coming June 2025)
After an arranged marriage, Konstantin and Suzana must find a way to meet the demands of a conquering Ottoman sultan amid a torrent of setbacks and dangers much closer to their Balkan home.


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ISBN 9781639932467
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 16 members

Featured Reviews

Another phenomenal historical fiction from A.L. Sowards. If you haven't read any of her books yet, I can't recommend them enough. Especially if you enjoy history, fabulous characters, and storylines that pull you in and don't let go even after the book is finished. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

This is the first book in a new series. There is a prequel novella, After the Crescent Strike, that gives a little bit of backstory of the Ottoman Empire conquering the Serbs and what led to Konstantin becoming the current vassal of his region and in servitude to the Sultan. It's a fabulous read as well but does not have to be read prior to reading this one. But I recommend reading it because it was a fantastic book as well! I read it then quickly dove into my arc of this one! And let me tell you that as soon as I finished reading this book I was telling my book besties that I needed more!!! But now I'm going to be patient as I wait for the second book to release in January 2025. I'll just have to come back and read the prequel novella and this one while I wait! Definitely worth it!!!

Konstantin is a wonderful character. I loved his character arc. The struggles and stressors that he experiences and feels due to being the vassal (leader) of his people and trying to protect them, make sure there is money in their coffers-enough to care for his people and to pay tribute to the Sultan- and guiding his younger siblings in their roles as well. Imagine his surprise when his grandfather arranges a marriage with Suzana, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, to help Konstantin build up his coffers again.

Suzana and Konstantin are my favorite part of this book. Don't get me wrong, I loved the whole book, but their storyline together and the ups and downs that their budding relationship/marriage encounters was so well written. So many emotions that they go through due to their relationship, family, war, brigands, danger and so much more, will have you captivated while reading. I was hooked. And like I said previously, I need more! So much more with these two characters! But I'm very excited to see what the next book will bring and who's story we will watch develop and come to life in our imaginations thanks to the very talented writing of this author!

Beautifully written story about a powerful group of people and a powerful love story that will have you feeling all of the emotions and possibly shedding a few tears and most definitely cheering on these characters.

Content: Clean. This book does deal with an arranged marriage. There are some kisses and some off-page intimacy between a married couple but nothing graphic or in detail. It is a very sweet and clean love story. It does have some Christian fiction elements in it as the characters turn to God and pray to Him, trust Him to guide and direct and bless them. These elements are definitely what the people of the time period would have done. The book does have elements of war so there are battles and sword fights and death and blood. There is talk of pillaging as well and some mention of rape but not in graphic detail. There is mention some talk of PTSD for a couple characters but was written very well and in a sensitive manor. The author really did a great job of keeping this a clean read even with some of these more sensitive topics. I would let my teenagers read this book (I am pretty conservative in what I read and what I let them read).

I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Happy Reading!!!

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As a vassal to the Ottomans who have conquered their lands, Konstantin must meet the sultan's heavy demands. After catastrophic losses, the only way for Konstantin to save his people is to marry a wealthy bride, even if it means marrying a stranger.

Suzana never expected her groom to be so young, so kind, or so handsome and has hopes if not for love, then at least a better life than with her father.

But as Konstantin and Suzana seek to build a relationship, they are faced with danger from enemies on every side as well as ghosts from the past, and only together can they find the strength, faith and love to overcome all the obstacles in their way.

What you'll love:
Set in Balkans, 1373
Dual POV
Marriage of convenience
Rich history
Action and adventure
Sweet, sigh-worthy romance
Battle scenes
Found family
Protective yet gentle MMC
Honor and loyalty
"To me, you are everything."

I am completely and totally in love with this book! Words like captivating and breathtaking come to mind but I feel like they don't quite do this story justice.

The story gripped me from the first page and I was immersed in a time and place so far distant from my own and yet the story on the pages brought it to life. I truly cannot tell you which I enjoyed most, the action and suspense, the heartwarming scenes of family, or the stars-in-your-eyes marriage of convenience romance.

This is a story of family and friendship and faith, of finding the kind of love that heals your heart and fills your soul, and of holding on to hope even when the challenges seem to great to bear.

I am in love with the setting and these characters, and am so glad that there is another book yet to come in the series. I know it will find a spot on my favorites shelf right next to this one! If only I could give this book more than 5 stars because it deserves them all!

I received a complimentary copy but a positive review is not required.

TW/CW: <spoilers> intense battle scenes with injuries and death, physical abuse (past and off-page), implied intimacy between married couple but nothing on page besides kissing, rape (in past and no graphic details shared) <spoilers>

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