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Shadowheart (Medieval Hearts #2)

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  782 ratings  ·  77 reviews
From Laura Kinsale comes an extraordinary medieval-set tale of consuming love and fiery passion between a dashing, dangerous assassin and the beautiful princess who stands in the way of all he's ever desired.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,411)
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jenjn79
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pepa
Leer a esta autora siempre es un placer. No es una lectura ágil, sino densa. Pero me gusta mucho su forma de escribir y disfruto mucho de su lectura.
El problema ha sido la historia. No me ha gustado, creo que en muchos momentos la alarga sin ningún sentido y el tema de los personajes no me ha cuajado nada.
No me ha dado la sensación de que esta jovencita de apenas 19 años esté cualificada para hacer (ella solita) todo lo que hace... la evolución a nivel sexual es, cuanto menos, sorprendente y esa...more
Caz
I've given this an A+ for narration and a B+ for content - I'm calling it 4.5 stars here

Having very much enjoyed For My Lady's Heart in audio format, I’ve been eagerly looking forward to its sequel, Shadowheart, which picks up the story of Allegretto della Navona, the ruthless young assassin who was one of the major secondary characters in that novel. He’s certainly an interesting choice for the hero of an historical romance but I knew that if anyone could make a murderer into a romantic hero, i...more
Regan Walker
Unusual Medieval Both Fascinating and Disturbing

To say this book was difficult to review is an understatement. Let me say at the outset that Kinsale writes brilliantly and has obviously done an amazing job of presenting the historical setting of 14th century Northern Italy. The story also held my interest; HOWEVER, it is also problematic and sometimes disturbing and, in places, had me figuratively tearing out my hair. As historical romance, some readers of the genre will have difficulty with par...more
Crista
I finished reading this book several days ago. I usually write a review immediately after reading a book, but with this one, frankly, I didn't know what to rate it, or what to say about it. As a usually very opinionated and "sure" type of person...this was a first for me.

Laura Kinsale is not your ordinary romance novel writer. This needs to be understood first and foremost before reading anything by her. She does not write light and fluffy romances that make you sigh and smile. Her novels chall...more
Cristina
En la Inglaterra del s. XIV, Lady Elena se queda absolutamente asombrada al descrubir que es la princesa —desaparecida hace tiempo— del poderoso principado italiano de Monteverde y la única heredera viva. Ahora, a pesar de que quiere permanecer en el lugar que siempre ha sido su hogar, sabe que tiene que ir al principado y que deberá casarse por motivos políticos con un auténtico desconocido — el actual gobernante de Monteverde.

Allegreto, el joven y carismático asesino de For my Lady's Heart, co
...more
Ann has a dirty mouth
This book is so much better than the cover and plot summary led me to believe. I have been taking an indefinite hiatus from historical novels for the better part of this year because I became very burned out on them, especially Regencies. I have a feeling when I read many historical romances that the characters are not really in the past- they are modern actors wearing old fashioned costumes for a play. I also really, really hate the historical fiction trope of women being "ruined" after losing...more
Res
Jun 11, 2008 Res rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Res by: geekturnedvamp
Shelves: romance
The one where Elayne discovers she's an exiled princess of Monteverde, and on her way to a political marriage, she's kidnapped by Allegreto, who appears to be a mysterious pirate. Sequel to For My Lady's Heart, and like that one, oh so much better than the title and plot summary imply.

Elayne goes from simply spunky to genuinely courageous. Allegreto actually develops a heart. And the plotting! I don't want to spoil some of the wonderful surprises, but at every turn, the stakes get bigger, until...more
Sonia De la rosa
Lo que más me gusta de los libros de Laura Kinsale son sus protagonistas... son hombres que se alejan del héroe perfecto, son hombres que cometen errores y que aunque al final se han convertido en mejores gracias a las protagonistas no pierden sus personalidades. Este libro es un ejemplo de sus libros, en los últimos libros me pareció que había perdido un poco de fuerza sus protagonista pero con este lo ha vuelto ha recuperar.
Il Corvo o Allegrato es un hombre sin corazón (según él) y sin concien...more
Pamela(AllHoney)
This is the 2nd Laura Kinsale book I've read and I didn't care for either. She is an excellent writer and is on many favorites lists but just not my personal style. I read it for a challenge and forced myself not to quit. There were parts that I did like but many that I struggled through.
Sylvia Kelso
I read this some time ago but was prompted to add it here with some comments after falling over reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Among romance novels, this is unique. Some of the earlier parts are somewhat usual, even hackneyed, even symptomatic of the sort of masochistic older romance I really don't like (the heroine is the sister of a beautiful and dangerous Italian heiress to a small nation state, raised in obscurity, sent away to avoid a dangerous marriage, abducted by a pirate, forced into...more
Ava Campbell
La mejor Kinsale en estado puro en una narración brutalmente fascinante.

Sé que no es una novela para todos los gustos, debido a la naturaleza de la relación que se desarrolla entre ellos, pero no creo que hubiera otra manera de darle su historia a Allegretto. Qué maestría demuestra Kinsale en la evolución de un personaje torturado como pocos hayamos conocido, qué convincente me ha resultado su progresiva dependencia de Elena y los gestos de masoquismo y dominación soportados como una penitencia...more
Inkspeckle
I was mesmerized by Allegreto in “For My Lady’s Heart”. The thing about Laura Kinsale’s novels is that you can feel so much emotion for even secondary characters. But Allegreto was not just a secondary character—not by a long shot. Of course, I had no idea just how deep he was. It gets pretty dark, the deeper you go. That darkness, however, is essential to who he is, balanced by his fear of damnation. When he walked into the church, for example: I, personally, almost felt at the point of a panic...more
Sheila Melo
The Condensed Version is Better Than The Original

The Condensed Version is Better Than The Original

SHADOWHEART is the sequel to FOR MY LADY'S HEART. It is the story of Allegreto della Novano, the assassin from FOR MY LADY'S HEART. I believe that it is necessary to read the first book before reading SHADOWHEART because much of this book assumes a knowledge of Allegreto's past and Monteverde. Allegreto meets his match in Elena, the presumptive heir to the rule of Monteverde which has been torn apar...more
geekturnedvamp
The amazing sequel to FOR MY LADY'S HEART, which I think everyone on the planet should read because Laura Kinsale is brilliant and there is pretty much nothing she can't make work... here she manages to pull off a Renaissance-era historical with a female dominant sadomasochistic relationship, and she won a totally deserved RITA for it. (In the interest of writing a balanced review I should add that the politics and plot pacing may occasionally drag a little, but I didn't even care.)
Water
This was not quite as good as the reviews led me to believe. Allegreto is described beautifully, but I never really saw him as dangerous as he was supposed to be since all he did was worship Elena throughout most of the book. Elena's mild S&M obsession seemed out of character and out of place. The book takes a startling turn towards the end, and I just didn't like how it went on or how it ended. This is a FANTASY novel, not a historical. Be warned.
Anne
I loved this book. I actually will rate it ****1/2 stars. it was exciting, hard to put down, wonderful love story between two well matched people from different backgrounds. There was plenty of excitement, intrigue and mystery to keep one reading. Recommended.
Ruth
I think Laura Kinsale is my absolutely favorite historical romance author. Her stories are so intense, so well-researched (as if she'd lived in the period herself), and just such wonderful storytelling!!!
Emily
All of Kinsale's historical romances are intense and a bit challenging. Shadowheart was not an exception to this, and I wouldn't recommend it for those who enjoy a fluffier romance. The sexy bits are kinky, and the romance is quite dark, but it works for the characters involved even though it seems unexpected for the genre. I loved the historical detail, I don't read many middle age period historicals, mostly because they often seem too inaccurate and the modern feel of the characters and langua...more
Crystal
Blinks a bit dazedly…

You know…when I pick up a Laura Kinsale, I expect quirky pairings, odd settings, etc. Guess it shouldn't surprise me to find myself reading a bit of mild bdsm in a medieval featuring a princess and an assassin born on the wrong side of the blanket. And I guess it shouldn't be too surprising that the aggressor is the heroine.

If I had a complaint, it's that she imprisons the H and his nemesis and then the next chapter starts out a year later… I guess in a way, there had to be...more
Susy
Another masterpiece from Laura Kinsale. This is the story that Allegreto deserved.

I begin to think that one of the best qualities in Kinsale's novels is the organic way in which the stories unfold. She makes daring choices that are quite unlike the usual formulaic "twists" that other authors seem to impose onto their stories to generate tension or move the plot to where they want it to be. Ms. Kinsale's novels have that sporadic randomness that rather faithfully reflects the odd, irrational choi...more
KatieV
The progression of their relationship and the way they complemented one another was amazing to read.

I read a lot of romance and much of it doesn't stick with me, but I'm still thinking about this book after finishing it. I didn't expect to like the "femdom" element to their sexual relationship, but it made sense in context. The H was still all alpha-male and the h was strong yet kind and not a shrew at all. I think much of her roughness with him in bed had to do with the fact that she no longer...more
Angela
Readers were first introduced to Allegreto, the elegant assassin, in For My Lady's Heart. Now he is a charismatic, dangerous man who will stop at nothing to regain his rightful place in the rich Italian principality of Monteverde. And the perfect tool has just fallen into his hands, in the lovely form of Lady Elena—the long-lost Monteverde princess. Only she can solidify his claim...but the dark passion that grows between them is more dangerous than any treachery mortal men could devise. (Publis...more
Anna Stover
Starting out slowly, this book heats up fast. The heroine, impetuous and naive, is a refreshing surprise. Her emotions for Allegreto are convoluted and as disconcerting as they are powerful, and for once I understand her hesitation in getting emotionally involved with him. Allegreto on the other hand is very familiar with the darker and more twisted aspects of life, having lived as an assassin-slave for his father. Together they are feral: alternately tender and destructive. If this is not your...more
liz
Yeah, yeah, historical romance. Hysterical romance? Opposites attract (because don't they always in these books? Either that or they've known each other forever, but only just realize they're in l-o-v-e). A little intense for the plot, more plot than romance, but then when there is the romance... I had no idea they were into role-playing during medieval times. Well... I can't really decide if I'd ever want to read anything by her again. Unfortunately it's sort of put me off reading for a little...more
Dangermousie
Set in the High Middle Ages, the book revolves around Elena, the heiress presumptive to the rule of Monteverde, a fictional Italian principality, and Allegreto, the illegitimate son of a rival ruling family.

Elena is sent out from England, where she has been living, to Monteverde in order to marry the man currently ruling it and to solidify his claim. But her ship gets intercepted and she gets captured by a mysterious assassin known as Allegretto. Allegreto is a pirate and a former assassin, but...more
Melowin
One of the darkest of Kinsale's novels, I actually found its predecessor, For my Lady's Heart harder to read (because Melanthe was just not a female protagonist that I found attractive). Shadowheart is a story of redemption, despair turned into hope, and rebirth. All of Kinsale's books have just a wonderful sense of drama about them, rand ich character and environment descriptions. The first two thirds of the book is the love story, and then the plot becomes political intrigue, and for a die-har...more
Cathy
This is a sequel to For My Lady's Heart set about 15 or so years in the future and written a decade after the first book's publication, which I think is a good thing. It is blessedly free of copious Middle English, but it's still not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

It focuses on the assassin from the previous book who is now all grown up and not quite so castrated and the younger sister of the spy who was his wannabe beloved. I liked this book well enough, but it does definitely have some ques...more
Angela
I only got about half-way with this audiobook. I was enjoying the story of Aligretto & Elena, and things were going just fine, when all of a sudden it went from a medieval romance to "50 Shades of Gray"! I had to stop. Elena struggles with her dark side, knowing she should be more pious and good, but she just lets it loose and explores way beyond what I could handle. Not just sexual, but very psychological. Yuck! Oh well. Nick Boulton's voice is still gorgeous, BTW.
Angelyn Schmid
Kinsale answered many a prayer when she wrote Allegreto's story. We knew this assasin from For My Lady's Heart was wicked and remote. We didn't know Elena then--now we will never forget either of these characters. That's Kinsale's potency--her conflicted, true-to-life characters. The author says they have taken her on their journey and I believe her.

Wrapping the reader solely in Elena's viewpoint throughout the book, Kinsale blocks out what the hero is thinking. Some readers hate this, but how...more
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Laura Kinsale is a New York Times bestselling author and both winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America.

She become a romance writer after six years as a geologist--a career which consisted of getting out of bed in the middle of the night and driving hundreds of miles alone across west Texas to sit drilling rigs, wear a hard hat, and at...more
More about Laura Kinsale...
Flowers from the Storm The Shadow and the Star (Victorian Hearts, #2) Lessons in French For My Lady's Heart (Medieval Hearts, #1) The Prince of Midnight

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“He came down the nave, walking with his graceful stride, dangerous and tear-stained.” 0 likes
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