Author: Elsie Park
Format: ARC PDF
Release Date: September 7, 2013
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads
On the surface, Graywall is content and booming. Lord Shaufton, who presides over the city, is a fine ruler. The poor are well-cared for, the area is popular, and morale is high—but within Graywall’s roots, something dark is stirring. This darkness threatens to overpower the once-peaceful town, until a mysterious figure appears: The Shadow.
As much a figure of fear to the unruly as legend to the innocent, The Shadow is an enforcer of justice and aid to the King. Due to an outrageous export tax set by King Edward, smuggling has tainted the kingdom, so The Shadow is sent to hunt the smugglers down. Contrary to legend, The Shadow is simply a man known as Sir Calan who, although talented and just, struggles to keep his dark thoughts of revenge from becoming ruthless action.
Due to sheer coincidence, The Shadow learns of a deadly plot against Lord Shaufton on a journey to Graywall. Now, he must enter a pseudo courtship with Lord Shaufton’s daughter under his original guise of Sir Calan, all while old emotions are stirred by the lovely Elsbeth, Lord Shaufton’s niece. Elsbeth, it seems, is the only woman who can heal his troubled soul, but she has a story of her own. What transpires is a glorious tale full of deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and most of all—love.
Shadows of Valor is a story about lies and betrayal. In the town of Graywall, everything seems great. The only problem that lies beneath the surface are smugglers. But the smugglers of Graywall are getting more aggressive when it is found that there is a plot against the beloved ruler, Lord Shaufton. This is where The Shadow comes in. The Shadow is a very intimidating knight from King Edward's court. No one knows who the Shadow is or when he is coming, but smugglers know to be afraid of him. The Shadow soon finds out that there may be a mole in Lord Shaufton's home and the only one he can trust is Elsbeth, the lord's niece. Elsbeth is his childhood friend that he knew had feelings for him, but he never returned them. Now he sees the beautiful woman she has become with or without the scars she hides. The Shadow will do what he must to save the lord and his family, especially his niece who he knows he shouldn't have feelings for, but can't help.
Well, what an addictive read this turned out to be, Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. The characters were beautifully developed. I took an instant liking to Elsbeth. She had a good heart and she was brave even though she has a very shy personality. She has burn scars all up her arms and has been treated rather unfairly by men. When her old friend Calan comes back into town, feelings she buried long ago come to surface. Unfortunately, his affections seem to go to her cousin Genna, who every man falls head over heels for. Calan was absolutely perfect. Oh my goodness, I wish he were real. He is definitely someone every girl dreams about. Not to mention any guy that smells like my favorite spice (cinnamon), gets extra points. The book bounces between Elsbeth and Calan's POVs and I loved how much we learn about each of them. The book really focuses on them and shows what made them the people they are. They were polar opposites and that is what made them work. Calan was dark and didn't trust anyone, Elsbeth always sees the good in people and is a bit too trusting. I loved the little debates this brought on.
This story was just incredible. I found it so exciting. Park definitely knows how to reel in an audience. I was so engrossed in this world and the characters. The villains in the book were very interesting and one I found particularly creepy. I loved the mystery and the build up. Although, I did figure it out quite quickly, but that didn't make this any less exciting. The dialogue was fun and intriguing, Again, Calan and Elsbeth were just amazing together. The bantering was a lot of fun. They really balanced each other out.
This is going on the favorites list. This book was well-written and believable. Park has got herself quite a gem here. This is her debut book and I can't wait to see what else she has in that brain of hers. Do not skip on this read. Even if historical/medieval romance isn't your thing, you have to read this.
*This book belongs to the following challenge*
I grew up in a small town outside Yosemite National Park, California, U.S.A. I enjoy soccer, piano, reading, writing, art and my family. Years ago I spent 18 months in Italy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the castles and old Roman cities enhanced my fascination for ancient and medieval culture. In college I studied zoology, botany and criminal justice. I've worked as a wildland firefighter, security guard and a police officer, but I am currently a stay-at-home mom, spending time with my children and husband. I love thinking up new ideas for interesting stories and musical compositions to go with them. To schedule a book signing, appearance, or interview, contact me: email@example.com or my publicist Kirk Cunningham: firstname.lastname@example.org
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