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The Novels of Ravenwood #3

Shadow of the Swan

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Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever.

Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she's threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a "real" one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed.

Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.

158 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 31, 2018

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About the author

Judith Sterling

10 books634 followers
Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Through gothic paranormal mystery (The Gothic Gwyn Mysteries), medieval/time travel romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) and young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), she loves to whisk readers away from their troubles and remind them of the hidden magic all around us.

Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,827 followers
October 17, 2018
Lady Constance is a woman haunted by the past and when she comes face-to-face with her nightmare, she runs away. Desperate to escape, she pleads with Sir Robert to take her to her sister’s home. He agrees to protect her at all costs. She’s not sure she believes him but when in his presence, peace fills her. When her past follows her to her sister’s home, she has no choice but to align herself with Sir Robert in matrimony.

Something has put the fear of God into Lady Constance, Sir Robert would stake his life on it. He agrees to a spiritual marriage but the more time he spends with his new wife, the harder it becomes to keep his hands to himself. He made a vow, though, and he’ll keep it. She challenges his mind and his agnostic beliefs, so much so, he wonders if she’s his other half. Can he convince her to share her dark secret, so they can become one or is he doomed to a loveless marriage?

This is, by far, the greatest of the three books in this series. From the first page, I connected with Constance. Her self-loathing touched me deeply, as if she was reliving events in my past. Her disbelief in her own beauty and her pushing away Robert so he wouldn’t discover how tainted she is sprung emotions in me I haven’t felt in years.

The antagonist (I won’t reveal who it is so you can be as shocked as I was) is one of those characters you hate with every fiber of your being. Their abuse of their power and esteem to punish women like Constance rang true to history and was accurately portrayed.

This is more than a historical romance, it is a story of faith lost and restored once again. Shadow of the Swan will transform you and reaffirm the power of love.

Favorite Character/Quote: Sir Robert. I loved everything about him but especially his patience with Constance. He takes it slow and in the end, their love is well worth the wait.

My Rating: 5+ stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N

This review first appeared: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/si...
Profile Image for Carvanz.
2,059 reviews707 followers
August 3, 2018
Audio-book: Narrator – Virginia Ferguson

This was beautifully narrated. Filled with warmth and passion, this narrator brought the characters within this story to life. I usually have a bit of a learning curve when listening to an accent, but not so with this one. I immediately connected with Ms. Ferguson and fell deep into her rendition of this amazing story. Both male and female characters were unique as well as fully developed within the ranges of her voice.

When Constance needs protection from a dark presence that haunts her life, she finds it in Sir Robert and he immediately steps in to offer his assistance. As things progress, Constance backs herself into a corner where the only thing that will preserve her from danger is marriage to the man who has already offered her protection along her travels.

Robert is immediately attracted to the beautiful postulant and leaps at the opportunity to be her protector, first with his body between her and danger, and then with his name. Unfortunately, she is determined the marriage be one of a spiritual nature only, leaving him cold and lonely in his marriage bed. As he works toward changing that decision, he finds himself falling in love with her.

This is a beautifully written romance filled with mystery and intrigue as well as danger and drama. I loved the way this couple came together as friends and then Robert’s gentle seduction of his wife. There were so many hidden gems in this story as the villain pursues the heroine even as a ghost haunts Robert and Constance’s new home.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Dual POV
Profile Image for Amanda Richardson.
911 reviews10 followers
November 24, 2018
A new medieval romance? Yes, please! Shadow of the Swan is the third book in Ms. Sterling's Novels of Ravenwood series, and is as good as the first two.
Constance has been hiding in a nunnery away from an evil man. She believes she wants to be a nun because she is afraid of this man's touch. When he finds her again, Constance escapes and meets Robert.
Robert is instantly smitten with the beautiful nun and hides her, hoping to protect her. Constance needs full time protection, Robert wants to marry Constance to help her, but Constance only wants a marriage in name only. Both Robert and Constance have been hurt by others and are a bit gun shy when it comes to trusting another person with their hearts.
Robert and Constance are bound by their agreement to not share a beg - but Robert believes he can help Constance and soften her views given enough time. The couple is on a sweet course to true love - there are bumps along the way, but Robert and Constance belong together.
There is a touch of paranormal in this story as in the others. The couple shares dreams and there may be a ghost hanging around the castle. As with the other books in the series, the love scenes are nicely sensual, sexy and sweet. I highly recommend this book to other readers who like medieval romances - you will love it!
Profile Image for Carole Burant.
1,151 reviews28 followers
February 5, 2020
I couldn't wait to read Robert's story and it didn't disappoint! Judith Sterling has fast become a favorite author and once you read this series, you'll know why.

Robert is my new book boyfriend....he's got dimples, ladies....dimples!!! He's such a wonderful character and you can't help but want him to find a forever love. Constance is ready to become a nun but her plans change when she finds herself having to flee and asks Robert to escort her to her sister's place. Before you can even blink, they find themselves married but she wants it in name only and he wants it to be real so he sure has a lot of convincing to do:) No matter what happens, though, he just wants to protect her.

Be ready to meet a ghost and there are a few twists and turns that will make you gasp. I really never expected the "ghost" to be who it was!!!! Always a pleasure to also see the characters from the previous books and find out how they're doing:)

I received an ARC of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Profile Image for Alyson  L.
146 reviews54 followers
February 24, 2020
What a delightful story! It's full of romance, faith and as they say, a tiny bit of pixie dust. SHADOW OF THE SWAN is the third installment in this series and by far my favorite. I love how all of the Novels of Ravenwood loosly tie together but can surely stand on their own as well. This is a very fast read. Constance has a past she is trying to hide from and when Roger offers they make a quick decision to have a marriage in name only. Darling Sir Roger, oh he of the dimples (I do love me some dimples!! *grin*) protects her but harbors a hope for their marriage to become one of love. I do love Constance and her broken story and the ending will hit you right where it counts.

As with the other books in the series, the love scenes are just the right amount of sensual, sexy and sweet mixed together. The entire series is a joy to read with well-rounded and believable characters, entertaining storylines and top-notch writing that shows what an outstanding writer Judith Sterling is. I look forward to many books in her future and cannot wait to see what's next! I highly recommend this book to readers who love medieval romances as I do - you're gonna love it!

5 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
4 🔥🔥🔥🔥

I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,150 reviews44 followers
November 15, 2018
"Shadow of the Swan" is the third book in the series.

The whole series (so far...!) has been a joy to read. The characters are all so well-rounded and believable, the storylines are entertaining, and the writing proves that Judith Sterling is a natural as an author.
I'm looking forward to reading many more books by this author.
Profile Image for C.M. Truxler.
Author 1 book10 followers
December 26, 2018
This is not the average or typical knight and damsel in distress tale. Sir Robert le Donjon is not only the brother of the noble Lord Ravenwood, but exudes the fun-loving, quick-wittedness, intelligence, loyalty, and handsome bravado that most envision when thinking of a knight. Yet, amongst all the delightful personality and bright smiles lurks the scars and ravages of war that delve to his very core lay hidden there.

Lady Constance de Bret hides her feisty spirit under any guise at hand, including the possibility of taking the veil, but dark secrets from her past might change her future forever.

When these two meet, all bets are off as to what will happen. Robert bemuses Constances' attempts to be prim and proper, while having his appetite for more than just sustenance challenged.

There are twists and turns unique to the tale. Action stems on the cerebral heightening of each and every sense. Nerve-endings tingle throughout the pages. Anticipation feeds the readers' imagination, while the richly created characters pull her or him into a world of multi-faceted times, experiences, existences, and realms. Sterling has created this tale with calculated beauty and determination. Readers will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Donna Simonetta.
Author 7 books226 followers
May 12, 2020
I just finished reading Shadow of the Swan, and I loved it! It is book three in Judith Sterling’s Novels of Ravenwood series, but it could definitely be read as a standalone book. I have read the first two books in the series, and it was fun to see some characters from those pop up in this book. I always enjoyed the secondary character of Sir Robert le Donjon in the previous books, and have been looking forward to reading his story. I was not disappointed. The story of his romance with Lade Constance de Bret pulled me right in, and I couldn’t stop reading! Prior to this series, I had not read many historical romances set in this time period, early 12th century Britain, but it’s been interesting. The author paints a vivid picture of the time and characters, you feel as if you are right there with them. I really enjoy Sterling’s writing style, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
557 reviews4 followers
February 27, 2022
Judith Sterling’s “Shadow of the Swan (The Novels of Ravenwood Book 3)”

Lady Constance de Bret Has determined to be a nun but fierce marriage may be the better and safer option. Sir Robert le Donjon is so enamored with Constance he agrees to her “spiritual marriage” all the while hoping to change her mind one day.

This was such a beautiful love story and the author did an amazing job bringing the characters to life. Her attention to detail and imagery is commendable and allows the reader to enjoy being a part of the story. I was pulled in from the start by the mystery and intrigue and held there by the sheer love, patience and understanding Robert showed Constance as they become friends.

I can’t say enough good things about this wonderful love story. The characters are such that you can’t help but fall in love with. This is my first time reading Ms. Sterling’s work. Now I have to go back and read the rest of the series.

Thank you so much Ms. Sterling for this beautifully written love story.
830 reviews6 followers
November 9, 2018
I received this novel from Ms. Sterling. Thank you!
This novel was an enjoyable read, bringing in faith, romance, and magic. Lady Constance de Bret is planning to become a nun, but fate has other plans for her. She experienced something terrible, cannot discuss it either for no one would believe her. She escapes her tormentor by receiving help from Sir Robert le Donjon. Robert has returned from war and he has lost his faith. He recognizes Constance and agrees to marry her to keep her safe from whatever she is running from. Constance wants a marriage in name only but Robert hopes to change her mind. Robert starts by developing a friendship with Constance, while she begins to open herself to Robert. However she is afraid of what he will think of her when he learns the truth. Only together can they overcome the pains of the past to have a future full of love and hope.
Profile Image for D. Messing.
381 reviews5 followers
November 24, 2018
This was a great third book in this series. I love how all three loosely tie together, but can stand on their own. It was a very quick read that didn't have quite as much of a supernatural bend, but had a more human set of ghosts. The whole story is a feel good read, it happens with just the right amount of development and leaves you rooting for Robert and Constance whilst simultaneously cursing the evil Dominy. This is a great read, the setting was richly detailed, the author really did her research and it elevated what could have been a ho-hum romance into an immersive world that pulls you in and doesn't let you go until its over. Great job, and thank you for the opportunity to review this gem.
Profile Image for Sydney Winward.
Author 19 books304 followers
February 4, 2021
He wants a wife. She wants protection. When the two feel a pull toward the other, will only a spiritual union be possible?

This tale of letting go of past pain and hurt and finding love is so sweet. Constance is a very hesitant and wary bride while Robert is kind and patient. Judith Sterling has a knack for creating deep and interesting characters, and you can’t help but love them as they go on their own journeys to become their best self.

Shadow of the Swan is a great addition to The Novels of Ravenwood, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.
Profile Image for G.
114 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2018
This story was written by an author, Judith Sterling, with a gift for telling a story. It is narrated beautifully by Virginia Ferguson. The characters were well developed and it was a pleasure to listen to their story unfold. Constance and Robert's relationship is tender, but sensual. Theirs is a true bonding of two people who need healing from different experiences that trouble them. Don't miss out. Shadow of the Swan is a joy to listen/read.
Profile Image for Sara.
483 reviews
April 11, 2020
Shadow of the Swan, the third book in The Novels of Ravenwood series, is a brilliantly written historical romance. The riveting tale captivated me from the beginning to the very last word. The characters are remarkable, with a phenomenal emotional depth that reaches out to the readers/listeners. Lady Constance de Bret and Sir Robert le Donjon's journey is more than a love story; it's about healing, growth, and reclaiming of one's self.

The narration by Virginia Ferguson is excellent; she portrayed the characters and their personality nicely. I wholly enjoyed this audiobook, and highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook, and my unbiased review is voluntarily given.
Profile Image for Barbara.
17k reviews8 followers
June 8, 2021
The third book in The Novels of Ravenwood series another great story in this series. Lady Constance de Bret and Sir Robert le Donjon are two damaged souls that meet. This story has suspense, drama, twists, turns, danger, a villain, swans, tapestry, and love. I want to read the next book. I received a copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Margaret.
2,278 reviews14 followers
February 10, 2019
Together at Last

Constance makes an impulsive decision to marry Roger when confronted with her past. To protect her, Roger goes along with her story and they marry. Can he keep his promise for a spiritual marriage?
A few modern words/phrases. I've enjoyed reading this series. Very easy to read and a nice flow to the stories.
Profile Image for Barbara Strickland.
Author 6 books38 followers
February 11, 2018
A very sweet read

This was a lovely romantic novel from by-gone ages. Thoroughly enjoyable and with some very appealing characters and a smooth, easy pace.
195 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2021
A little of many emotions and a dash of magic mixed with a lot of surprises!

I really loved this well written book!! It has lots of twists and turns of family and friend dynamics.
Some fun and adventure and a true love story that left me feeling joyful. Now that is a really great read!
Profile Image for Judith Sterling.
Author 10 books634 followers
August 5, 2018
This is the love story of Lord Ravenwood’s brother, Sir Robert le Donjon, and Lady Nihtscua’s sister, Lady Constance, a would-be nun who harbors a terrible secret. They’re two souls haunted by memories and in desperate need of healing.

This is one of the most personal stories I’ve ever written. The desire to heal—both myself and others—has played a large role in my life. So I gave Robert and Constance the best I had, ensuring they'd find the love and joy they both deserved.

I hope Shadow of the Swan whisks you away from your cares and you find the peace and joy that you deserve.
Profile Image for Deborah Roussety.
319 reviews11 followers
March 11, 2019
loved this book and the series cannot wait for more......................
Profile Image for Jessica Squires.
54 reviews18 followers
February 11, 2020
This is by far my favorite in this series. I love Constance and her broken story. And boy will that ending hit you HARD. Judith Sterling is an amazing author and I'm in love with her work!! I'm so happy Robert is in this story! I was hoping hed be next when he was introduced in the last book! These are all stand alone you don't have to read them in order or the others at all, although I highly recommend it because you will fall in love!!! This name of this story now gets me. You'll understand later. This is such a beautiful love story of someone trying to heal and someone willing to protect them despite everything. Watching this love blossom was so so heartwarming. The narrator for this last story was different than the last but I think she is so perfect for this one! Virginia Ferguson is new to me and I loved how she portrayed Constance and Robert!
Profile Image for Amanda.
430 reviews2 followers
April 25, 2020
An excellent triology . I am just confused if that s is the end of it there will be a book 4. Hi got this book from StoryOrigin and this is my voluntary and honest review.
June 29, 2018
Another great installment to the Novels of Ravenwood! It is always a pleasure reading Judith Sterling's work!
Profile Image for Nextbookaroundthecorner.
879 reviews8 followers
July 2, 2020
After Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf, this time it is Sir Robert (yep, the brother of William) who is the main character in the story. When he encounters Lady Constance, he feels an instant connection. When she is in need of rescue, he offers her a spiritual marriage. When lady Contance went into the convent, she was convinced she should become a nun. But now, when shadows of her past are catching up with her, she feels that Robert can keep her safe.
Sir Robert doesn't know why he offered a spiritual marriage, since he really would like a genuine marriage. But there is something about Constance. So, Robert will do his best to woo his bride. But will the shadows of the past hunt them forever? A wonderful read, I can't wait for the next part in the series. Five out of five stars from me and a special thank you to Judith for providing the arc.
4 reviews
February 12, 2018
A wonderful love story with a great twist at the end. Well-researched and beautifully written, with a touch of magic.
Profile Image for Patricia Terry.
185 reviews4 followers
May 5, 2020
Charming romance with some unusual garnishes. Quite an enjoyable read. I received a free review copy of the audio version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
423 reviews1 follower
June 8, 2021
Lady Constance’s intention had always been to join a monastery, but that was made impossible by the behavior of a certain priest. When she has to flee from this man, now a archdeacon, she is rescued by knight Robert. Circumstances lead to Robert and Constance getting married. Constance is afraid of the marriage bed, Robert has lost his faith after the Crusades, but with a lot of patience and love they come closer together, with the help of supernatural phenomena. Although it is a nicely put together story it does not captivate me. I think it;s too long winded and the supernatural elements do not appeal to me

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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