Publisher: Choc Lit (7 July 2012)
What will it take to put the past to rest?
Professional genealogist Melissa Grantham receives an invitation to visit her family’s ancestral home, Ashleigh Manor. From the moment she arrives, life-like dreams and visions haunt her. The spiritual connection to a medieval young woman and her forbidden lover have her questioning her sanity, but Melissa is determined to solve the mystery.
Jake Precy, owner of a nearby cottage, has disturbing dreams too, but it’s not until he meets Melissa that they begin to make sense. He hires her to research his family’s history, unaware their lives are already entwined. Is the mutual attraction real or the result of ghostly interference?
A haunting love story set partly in the present and partly in fifteenth century Kent.
Christina Courtenay won the 2012 Best Historical Romantic novel of the year award (RoNA) for her novel, Highland Storms.
(This story is based on a real house and a real ghost)
The scene in the Prologue is so descriptive I could feel the restless energy of the past! A brilliant start to what underpins the whole story.
Chapter One finds us in present day Kent as Melissa and daughter Jolie are arriving at Ashleigh Manor. They’re visiting Great Aunt Dorothy… someone who has never been a part of Melissa’s life so the invite had been totally unexpected.
Straight away the reader is drawn into Melissa’s sense of déjà vu. Not only does she experience uneasiness but she also has flashbacks.
Chapter Two we’re transported to Ashleigh Manor in 1460 which is experienced through Melissa’s dream. Here we get to meet Sibell, the owners daughter, and Sir Roger Langford who is journeying to Idenhurst in a quest to find answers.
Jake Precy is the local vet and living in Ashleigh Cottage. He is experiencing the same dreams as Melissa …
With Melissa’s lease due for renewal and Jolie unhappy at her school, the invite to live with Great Aunt Dorothy comes at the right time. Melissa tries to analyse why she is reluctant but eventually compromises by saying they will stay with her until they find their own place.
What follows is time spent in present day Kent with Melissa researching the history of the house and becoming confused about how she truly feels about present day hero Jake … and regressing back to 15th century Kent being a part of Sibell and Sir Roger’s love story. Two love stories entwined…
The conflict comes in present day with Melissa’s ex and in the past with Sibell’s family. We find out the reason why the ghost has tried through the years to find a resolution and find peace.
Written in the third person, the reader becomes involved in everything that happens in both timelines. Even though each builds in intensity I really enjoyed spending time in the past! Who wouldn’t want their own Sir Roger … It is obvious that the author has researched this time period – everything feels authentic. There are references (and one scene in particular) to Wars of the Roses which puts everything in context. The plot flows with sub-plots along the way. Lots to hold the readers interest. There are a few supernatural scenes in present day … and one in particular I found quite scary due to the atmospheric environment and Melissa being on her own. There is also a little magic in a piece of jewellery that has its part to play in the plot.
I loved the genealogy and in fact am very jealous of Melissa’s job! Even the tiniest piece of information does cause excitement and Melissa finding the manorial role was a huge find 🙂 The paper trail our ancestors leave is more varied than you can imagine. Even in church registers you might find snippets that lead you off onto another trail (yes, I have an interest in my own family tree).
The ending is very poignant while at the same time expressing hope for the future.
The Silent Touch of Shadows isn’t an average run-of-the-mill love story. If you’re looking for something different in this genre then I definitely recommend you add this to your list. Even if you’re not, the romance between Sir Roger and Sibell will make your heart sigh with longing.
I would like to thank the publishers, Choc Lit, for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I have a paperback copy up for grabs for one of Jera’s Jamboree readers. If you would like to enter, just leave a pick me comment. The giveaway is open to the UK/IRL only and closes Monday 9th July at midnight.