Have you ever been hooked on a book from the very first line?
I’m not talking about Austen’s “It is a truth universally acknowledged…” because that is, clearly, a classic. What I’m talking about is a novel released recently (let’s call it the last ten years) that just absolutely HOOKS you from the very first sentence?
It’s been a long time since that’s happened for me. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I was taken in by a book so quickly.
As with all things 2020, finding good reading material has been a challenge. I’ve reread books and started new ones so far. With most of my favorite authors’ new releases not out until 2021 or beyond, I’ve been in a bit of a book slump.
A friend of mine suggested Tricia Levenseller’s THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US. Given that she and I have similar tastes in books and plotlines, I knew by her rave review that I would enjoy it. What I didn’t expect was for it to be the best book I have read in 2020!
Pitched by Kerri Maniscalco, bestselling author of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER as “The Slytherin romance we’ve all been waiting for,” I was ecstatic to read this.
Anyone who has listened to me talk about my writing passions knows that one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter world is Bellatrix Lestrange. However, it’s not because of anything we see in the Potter books. The reason I love her so much is because I assumed this character back in the mid-2000s back when forum roleplaying was a thing. I explored the depths of this dark character, I really dove in and tried to figure out what made her tick–alongside the dashing man she married. Put simply, I’ve been dying for someone to understand my love of the dark side and put it into print.
When I say I fell in love from the first line, y’all, check this out.
I was hooked from the very first sentence. I have a great love of true crime and murders in particular (I am currently working my way through YEARS of the Podcast, My Favorite Murder!). If you can have murder, intrigue, and a character that’s not afraid to get their hands a little dirty, I. Am. Hooked.
As we meet the main character, Alessandra, we learn of not only her ambitions, but her determination to be uniquely herself. She is not a heroine. She’s an anti-heroine. Her father is finally bringing her to court–after severely admonishing her for her dalliances with young men–and Alessandra has her eyes set on one person and one person alone: the King. Alessandra is ambitious and unapologetic. She wants to woo the king, marry him, then kill him and assume his power. What she finds is completely different than anything she could have ever expected.
Kallias is an intriguing, alluring, and confusing character. It takes time for him to open up, but once he does, the story blossoms. It does have a “fake dating” trope to it, but I found the two characters’ interactions to be charming.
Especially when Alessandra and Kallias go skinny dipping in a lake together and she tells him that she’s not a virgin. Surprisingly, we see a feminist in Kallias when he assures her that he won’t judge her for the things he’s allowed to do. We. Love. A. Feminist!
All in all, this story touched the deep dark parts of my Bellatrix heart and made me long for my own Slytherin romance (one day)! If you’re looking for something a little dark with a lot of fantasy and interesting characters that you just can’t help but root for, check it out!
I give this one 5/5 stars simply because it is the best book I’ve read in 2020. You definitely want to put this on your TBR list!
Thanks for reading,