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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOOOOO good i just couldn't put it down, 22 Sep 2003
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This review is from: The Shadow and the Star (Mass Market Paperback)
i've been searching for this book for ages and now i've read it i'm so glad i didn't give up looking for it! The writing is tight, precise and absorbing.
The hero Samuel Gerard is so perfectly human,with very human flaws, feelings of self-hate etc. He is a man running from a childhood of wicked abuse, used as a child prostitute-although this is never mentioned in any degree of detail, which is good, in my opinion.
Samuel has grown up believing that his own sexual urges are wrong and is ashamed when upon meeting Leda he finds his senses going haywire.
Leda has been brought up to deny her French, flighty side and is attracted to Samuel Gerard from the first time they meet.
Samuel is an oddity, a sensitive, strong hero who needs to be loved and needs to be taught how to love. This book has it all, you will laugh and cry and be left with a feeling of reading something special.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is so different and so WONDERFUL!!, 15 July 2009
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This review is from: The Shadow and the Star (Mass Market Paperback)
I have just finished this book which I read whilst away on holiday. I must say that the cover on my book bears no relation to what is inside the book at all and is so tastless. The later editions, I see have changed.

Leda knew all about manners and etiquette, but little about anything else outside of her job and trying to survive. It was a voyage of discovery for her and us, because we see through her eyes and she is a fascinating little thing and so proper. When she had what she considered an improper thought she put it down to 'being half french'!

As the first reviewer says, this book is a joy from start to finish. Take it slowly because it is different and well worth it. I will keep mine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep, pure love., 30 Sep 2012
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StarPlayer (B'ham England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Shadow and the Star (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a VERY intensely romantic story. You feel the love of the H and h before they even know that they are in love. Honestly, I was all set to buy the book (I've just finished reading my library copy) when the ending let it down. It's worth reading though.

Kinsale makes a sincere attempt to rise above the standard historical romance by introducing an element of oriental mystery. Sadly, the attempt flounders in its own pretension, and the work is most enjoyable where it is most conventional.

Kinsale alternates here between two related stories. One, set in Hawaii, follows young Samuel Gerard, whose childhood has been a nightmare of abuse. Given a home by the benevolent Lady Ashland, he soon becomes the protege of enigmatic Japanese butler Dojun, who coaches Sam in a Japanese system of fighting and self-discipline.

In the second story, set in 1880s London, the impoverished but resolutely respectable Leda Etoile learns that Samuel, now full-grown and dazzlingly handsome, is behind a baffling series of events marring Queen Victoria's jubilee festivities.

Fate brings them together, love binds them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful coup from the dream team of Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton, 2 Dec 2014
This review is from: The Shadow and the Star (Mass Market Paperback)
The dream team of Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton have pulled off another coup! I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this half as much if I had just been reading it, Ms. Kinsale, talented and clever as she is, writes very complicated stories that send one on an emotional roller coaster, much more enjoyable when read by the wonderfully talented, velvet voiced, versatile Nicholas Boulton.

Samuel Gerard is a fabulously handsome, clever, talented but emotionally damaged young man after a childhood of horrendous abuse. The fallout has left him, a man in his late 20's, still a virgin and afraid of his own natural, physical desires. Having been rescued from his nightmare life by Lady Tess whom he adores, he has been brought up in her own family, the wealthy Ashland family, she alone understands his unspeakable earlier life, though not the full extent of his emotional damage. Whilst living in Hawaii with the family, Samuel is taken under the wing of their Japanese butler, Dojun and surreptitiously trained in the ways of eastern martial arts, becoming a skilled warrior. As well as his physical and combatant attributes, Samuel flourishes under the love, acceptance and care of the Ashland family, becoming an astute and wealthy business man in his own right.

Samuel has loved Lady Katherine, Lady Tess's daughter who is known by her family as Kai, for as long as he remembers and has waited for her to grow up so that he can marry her. It is an obsession and he does not see her as a sexual figure and has no problem keeping his frustrations under control in her company. This did not come across to me as love and desire in the normal way, more like a habit, a placing of a beautiful object on a pedestal.

The family leaves Hawaii and returns to London, Lord Ashland as a British aristocrat and his immediate family are to be honoured guests at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. In the course of dressing the ladies of the family appropriately, they encounter Leda Etoule, an impoverished but genteel young lady, forced to work for a living as a seamstress. Leda is very Victorian in her upbringing, very straight laced and prim, she can't even use the word 'leg' in her vocabulary to a gentleman, can't abide swearing and is painfully correct in her ways. I almost found this irritating but nevertheless it is a part of Leda's characterisation. A series of events sees Leda leaving her employment and working for Samuel as his secretary, she is taken to the bosom of the kindly, generous and unconventional Ashland family. Samuel is very sexually attracted to Leda and his pent up frustrations begin to get the better of him. Eventually, believing Leda to be an experienced young woman, Samuel spends the night with her, she is a complete innocent and unworldly wise, he a virgin also. The bedroom scene is beautifully written and sensual, but somehow Laura Kinsale manages to portray the innocence and fumbling in the scene, which results in a totally believable encounter. The couple are discovered by Lady Tess and after persuading the inexperienced Samuel that Leda was a virgin, he does the honourable thing and they marry albeit with his dreams of marrying Kai in tatters.

The story from then on in, is a slow burgeoning and developing of a real, not imaginary love, Leda's understanding and love for Samuel is his salvation. They return to Hawaii, the background plot is tense and quite involved. The butler, Dojun emerges as a character not quite what he seems and Samuel learns some lessons, in my opinion he needed to break from his rigidly controlled existence if he is ever to put his past to rest and live a happy and fulfilled life. Under normal circumstances I would wonder at the success of a union between a passionate, beautiful, talented young man with a rather plain, prim, narrow minded young Victorian woman but this is Laura Kinsale and Nicholas Boulton...anything is possible! Laura Kinsale writes wonderful, sensual, interesting stories, pushing the boundaries to their full extent, what's not to love. It would be impossible to award any less than 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 15 Feb 2014
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Brilliant writing, characterisation and plot. Funny and charming with immaculate historical detail. It was a rare pleasure to read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - an epic, 28 Jan 2014
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A really excellent book, set in an interesting era (so different from the standard post Napoleonic wars). It had such substance and seemed to be extensively researched and carefully written. I just wish it could have been even longer.... I'd have loved to see how the next few months / years went.

I'd thoroughly reccommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!, 30 April 2013
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I have to admit to being a little confused by the first few chapters, but once Samuel enters the story proper, it is transformed into a gripping romance with real emotions portrayed beautifully.
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The Shadow and the Star
The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Oct 1991)
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