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“LOVE’S SHADOW: Brothers Maledetti, Book 2,” by Nichole Van, Fiorenza Publishing, $14.99, 368 pages (f)
Love or friendship, truth or deceit, gift or curse are some of the string of mysterious contradictions in “Love’s Shadow,” a paranormal romance by Nichole Van and the second installment in her Brothers Maledetti series.
The men of the D’Angelo family have been driven mad by the family gift for centuries, including sensing the future and hearing sounds from inanimate objects. But, now that three brothers, who are triplets, have the gift divided between them, hope for a shift from a troubling family history runs high.
Lucy Snow, who once dated Tennyson D’Angelo, is babysitting her 5-year-old niece Grace in Italy when the child disappears. The D’Angelo’s family estate isn’t far as Tennyson senses she’s in danger and Branwell, who has long harbored feelings for Lucy, goes to help her with his hearing gift. The search for Grace takes him and Lucy through Italy as they look for answers. They and other family members find much more as they also unravel truths about the D’Angelo family gift.
The intertwining of their families centuries ago has modern implications that neither the reader nor the characters suspect. Van sprinkles hints of truth brilliantly so that too much information is neither uncovered nor left a mystery for too long.
“Love’s Shadow” starts and frequently flashes back to events six years ago, including how Branwell met Lucy, Tennyson’s girlfriend, and it can be a somewhat confusing journey. While the use of the first person works well to get inside the thoughts of the characters, at times, it is distracting because of the frequent change in the point of view. Any change in point of view is well-marked for easy reference, if necessary.
“Love’s Shadow” is worth staying for the story as it is full of well-developed characters and witty dialogue. From the quirky, fire-haired Lucy, to the neighborly yet suspicious Cat Lady downstairs, interesting characters draw the reader in so that it’s hard to put the book down.
It is an entertaining read for fans of paranormal romance. There is no foul language. Mild paranormal violence throughout the book keeps the threat real without being graphic. There is mild sexual innuendo and the described romance doesn’t go beyond kissing.
“Love’s Shadow” is a Whitney Award finalist in the contemporary romance category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels written by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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