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Shadowheart

(Medieval Hearts #2)

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,485 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Dangerous and dashing assassin Allegreto wants to regain his rightful place in the rich Italian principality of Monteverde. Happily, the means to do so is Lady Elena, long-lost Monteverde princess and sole heir to the kingdom. Though she is promised to his rival, Allegreto seizes her ship, takes Elena prisoner, and weds her, thus beginning their battle of wits and passion.
Paperback, 488 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published 2004)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,485 ratings  ·  141 reviews


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jenjn79
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Naksed
DNF at Chapter 18 out of 32.

I didn't get this at all. The whole bdsm thing was so cringeworthy especially as it felt like he was reliving his childhood abuse at the hands of his monster father. As for her, the dominatrix, sex maniac persona was barf. I couldn't care less about the swashbuckling adventure and political intrigue either. I am definitely in the minority when it comes to this author but she is simply not for me. My second attempt at a book from her with the same DNF result :(
Regan Walker
Unusual, 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 certainly held my interest; however, it is also sometimes disturbing and, in places, had me figuratively tearing out my hair. Some historical romance readers will have difficulty with parts of it.

This is the sequel to For My Lad
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Crista
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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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
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Dαɴιjα

Shadowheart is the sixth Laura Kinsale's book I've read, and it is the sixth Laura Kinsale's book I've loved. I fully expected I would because I knew a book about Allegreto Navona would be something amazing. Somehow it turned out to be even better.

Allegreto Navona — his character in For My Lady's Heart was the main reason I wanted to finish reading that book as soon as possible and get to Shadowheart to see where the road took him after everything that had happened in For My Lady's Heart. Alleg
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Gaufre
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-loan, owned, romance
Is a leopard still magnificent if it's tame?

Laura Kinsale's books are always interesting. But they are interesting in the same way a 9-course meal at a fancy restaurant would be. Sometimes, like in Flowers of the Storm, all the pieces work well together and make for a memorable experience. Other times, the book takes a long time to get going and I find myself looking forward to something more substantial happening.

The writing is superb. I was transported to Italy and could see the lakes, cliffs
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Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
I'm unsure how to feel about this novel. There were several elements and passages I liked, but at the same time I found the book as a whole incredibly boring. I think it boils down to me not being at all interested in Monteverde, which is held up as some perfect, heavenly place... oddly enough, since it's also rife with danger and deadly intrigue. But the characters who love Monteverde REALLY love it, and I'm just back here yawning and checking my watch.

I thought the characters were fairly inter
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Sally ☀️
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although I'm giving Shadowheart the same rating as For My Lady's Heart, I much preferred it. It's probably more of a 4.5 and FMLH is more of a 3.5.

This was much easier to read than FMLH. I don't know whether that was because the language seemed to have changed, there wasn't nearly as much medieval speech, or whether the story got going much quicker, or perhaps both. I haven't read the condensed version at the end but I assumed that the condensed versions were the same books but with more modern
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Gilgamesha
It was a long and tedious book for the first half. The second half was better but the love story wasn't really the focus of the book. It was more about Elena and her journey of self discovery and her love for Allergro happened to be a part of that journey. I enjoyed the book but the hype the reviews created really ruined this book for me because I really expected an amazing dark love story, not the case with this book.
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.
Ann has a dirty mouth
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
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
Ruth
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
Jill
I experienced this story as an AUDIOBOOK - if you have never read a Kinsale book there are a few things you need to know:
- Laura Kinsale books are angsty.
- Things are NEVER tidy
- The heroes are always flawed
- The heroines usually get hurt by the heroes
AND MOST OF ALL -
- Laura Kinsale's writing talent MAY ruin you for less gifted authors. Now that I have read her work, I get far less enjoyment reading/ listening to historical romance/ fantasy stories that are written by lesser authors. Kins
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Elizabeth
I wanted to love this book. Laura Kinsale is an author highly praised among romance bloggers and readers. I have loved some of her books. I just finished For My Lady’s Heart,the prequel and really enjoyed it. And this book started off well – spunky, smart heroine. Mysterious hero. But, it’s now the second Kinsale book I’ve DNF’d for being too “rapey.”

Readers were introduced to this book’s hero, Alegretto, in For My Lady’s Heart. I didn’t find him particularly likeable in that book, but he did r
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Emily
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Res
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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Anna
WOW. Absolutely loved this book. Once I was able to get all the way through it, I found it to be a very satisfying read. With well developed characters all the way around, Shadowheart was a trying, though uplifting, read. A story of revenge, retribution, and unfailing love, it was truly a literary masterpiece. It is wordy, yes, but the intertwining storyline of Elayne's unfailing love as Allegreto sought peace and redemption was worth the time Though at first I found Elayne and Allegreto's roma ...more
Water
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Kid Disaster
4.5 stars but for some reason feel the need to round down.

I loved this story! Emphasis on story -- how often can you truly say that when you're reading 'romance'?
(view spoiler)
The romance scenes tho -- not my cup of tea. (YMMV of course) But because I floved the story, I didn't even mind.
melanie
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
I read this bc Kinsale talked about how it was controversial in the afterward of LESSONS IN FRENCH and BOY HOWDY CAN I TELL WHY. It’s a somewhat Old Skool vibe, wherein the heroine starts off 17 and the hero is (???) years older than her? He knew her when she was a child??? The actual consummation, uh, happens during a hurricane. The power dynamic was ultimately in the heroine’s hands (she dominates him! There’s a role playing scene! In a historical! Ma’am!!!!). Also... actually morally dubious ...more
Tory
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Years after rescuing young Lady Elayne di Monteverdi, Allegretto Navona is living as a pirate on an island known as Il Corvo. When Elayne is shipwrecked on the island, he quickly resolves to use her to gain back the kingdom of Monteverdi, which his father held for some time against their family’s rival, the Riata. But Elena, en route to an arranged marriage with Franco Riata, knows nothing of her dangerous inheritance.

At first an easy pawn of Allegretto, Elena comes to have her own plans for cr
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Sylvia Kelso
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sheila Melo
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antihero
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 apart by bloodshed between ruling factions.

I really
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Inkspeckle
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
geekturnedvamp
Jun 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
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.)
Lauren Stewart
Good God, Kinsale can write. He's one of the most tortured heroes I've ever read, hardened by the life he was forced into, and then stripped of everything by a truly original heroine.

I'm new to historicals, but Kinsale's are just breathtaking and holy-cow-hot. This one has some kink in it, done with a emotional rawness that is just beautiful. And hot. ;)
Anne
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Julie Bird
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a fabulous story, even though I had to skip through some of the steamier sex scenes that were a bit much for my delicate sensibilities, lol!
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1,039 followers
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
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Other books in the series

Medieval Hearts (2 books)
  • For My Lady's Heart (Medieval Hearts, #1)
“He came down the nave, walking with his graceful stride, dangerous and tear-stained.” 1 likes
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