+Book Review+ The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 28 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 4 Comments

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#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by honestly written characters whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read! I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other! I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

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The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina CourtenayThe Silent Touch of Shadows

by Christina Courtenay

Author Connections:

Personal Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Converse via: #TheSilentTouchOfShadows

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Historical| 

Time Slip | Suspense

Published by: ChocLitUK, 15 March, 2013

Available Formats:

Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print & E-Book

Series: Shadows of the Past, No.1 | Page Count: 356

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases that I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. I have a weakness for time slips because I love seeing how each individual author handles the story arc as much as bringing the characters into a compelling thread of thought and time. I received a complimentary copy of The Silent Touch of Shadows from ChocLit via IPM (International Publisher’s Marketing) in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intriqued to Read:

I must confess, I am positively addicted to the notions of time travel and time slip between dimensions of history! There is something to be said to slip in and out of realities, embarking on adventures where time itself can not hold you. One of my favourite examples in film is “Kate and Leopold” due to the brilliance of how they chose to keep the ‘time’ in tact for each setting the characters moved forward and backwards inside! This particular one drew my eye as I am an amateur ancestry historian following in the footsteps of my Mum! There is such a joy in being able to knit the pieces together of your ancestral past – although, more times than naught, the surprising threads you discover leave you rather pensive! This appears to be a question of reincarnated soul mates, struggling to find each other in the present who were not able to be together in the past! Smashing!

On my Connection to Ms. Courtenay:

When I began reading this novel, in early May I had only hosted one or two #ChocLitSaturdays chats which were at the time becoming one of my favourite ‘hours’ on Saturday mornings! I was starting to look forward to the hour to arrive, and the joy of discovering ‘who’ would be there was half the bliss for me! Ms. Courtenay started to become a regular fixture, and her encouraging conversations & ability to inspire others to converse freely throughout the chats put me at ease in my new role as a ‘Hostess’. She always seemed to know how to either start a topic or how to best suggest something to break the ice! I was always so very grateful to her and I am thinking I might have forgotten to tell her directly how much gratitude I had for her in those earlier chats! Over the weeks that have followed, I have found myself attached to each of my ‘regular’ chatters during the hour, and I consider Ms. Courtenay a bookish like-minded soul, as we tend to appreciate the same types of stories!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Courtenay through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #ChocLitSaturdays the chat; I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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Book Synopsis: 

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.

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Author Biography:

Christina CourtenayChristina lives in Hereford and is married with two children. Although born in England she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan where she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East.

Christina’s debut Trade Winds was short listed for the 2011 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction.The Scarlet Kimono won the 2011 Big Red Reads Best Historical Fiction AwardHighland Storms (in 2012) and The Gilded Fan (in 2014) won the Best Historical Romantic Novel of the year award and The Silent Touch of Shadows won the 2012 Best Historical Read Award from the Festival of Romance. Christina is Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Unless my eyes belie me, I do believe “The Silent Touch of Shadows” is the topmost book in the stack of books underneath Ms. Courtenay’s hands! I wondered when I first saw this if “The Secret Kiss of Darkness” was the one on the bottom!? As that would be quite clever as I am reading both during #ChocLitSaturdays!

A longer & more engrossing biography is on her website.

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Time Slips & Magical Realism stories enchant my mind:

Ahead of reading The Silent Touch of Shadows, I had the pleasure of viewing a new Hallmark Hall of Fame film entitled: In My Dreams. One of the most cleverly written installments of this legendary special movie franchise in which I was on bated breath during commercial breaks for the film to resume where it had left off prior to the break! The characters felt as though they were in their own unique time slip, dimensionally out of time and yet, inside time at the very same moment. They travelled to a unique plane of existence through their dreams which acted as a portal between their world and the fracture of where time can split and bend. To live moments outside of reality and yet achieve memories that were not entirely lived or unlived. I loved the beauty of how the writer or writers conveyed the elements lit within the drama and how the scope of the story arched over the elements which were laid within the Magical Realism side of story-telling.

I am instinctively drawn into time slips, time travel, and Magical Realism stories due to the inertia of suspending time and reality as we know it to exist. This is partially a fascination by a reader who has become entranced by researching Quantum Physics, Astrophysics, Cosmology, and the worlds within the hyperspace and quantum realms. I get giddy just being museful of how the theories and the tangible prospect of how time itself fits into our dimensional space of living as much as how it is translucent and temporal. I like seeing how writers move through time as they explore the setting and locale of their stories, as I am a wanderer and an adventurer by nature.

To give an element that is wholly true to its own instinctive edging and an element that is half hinged in fantasy makes me a happy ChocLit reader knowing that authors like Courtenay are penning tales which will bewitch my mind & heart. Of course, adding in a heap of romance, intrigue, and suspense does not hurt either nor does watching how characters evolve through their unique perspectives gained through experiences that are not readily able to be classified by traditional means is a bliss of its accord!

I do wonder, am I alone in my pursuit of seeking stories which land inside the palms of my hand as if I was led to them by an invisible thread!? Do others seek these stories in motion picture as much as in print bound novels!? There was even a Christmas movie on Hallmark Channel in 2013 where a miniature clock held time in its gears to where time could be altered and stopped in the pursuit of true love. The title of that film now drifts out of view.

My Review of The Silent Touch of Shadows:

Oh, my dear ghouls, if that is not a beginning to hitch your breath into your throat, than surely The Silent Touch of Shadows gives you ample reason to turn the page with rapt apprehension! And, this dear hearts after only having consumed the Prologue! Oh, I love stories which garnish a wicked dash of suspense intertwined with a sense of wonder knitted into the expectations of what I shall soon find my eyes soaking in the narrative! As we first become acquainted with Ashleigh Manor, I instantly was brought back into the joy of researching homes built in the late 1700s through early 20th Century in the 1900s. It is quite harder to find a sturdy built house in America from the 1700s, but you’d be well surprised at how much history is stitched into the historic houses which are still standing with a lot of life left inside their walls from the mid-to-late 1800s! Despite the extensive work they generally take to maintain, I am of the vein of thought my new favourite renovator is on HGTV’s “Rehab Addict”: each historic house deserves to be restored and honoured for the era in which it was built. I was especially grateful for the walking tour Dorothy gives to her nieces as it allowed me to drink in the richness of the Manor with the backdrop of its hidden history touching Melissa through her sensory receptacles.

The illusionary sequences of Melissa & Jake finding the allurement of the opposite sex in their dreams reminded me once again of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie (In My Dreams) I had watched starring Katherine McPhee! One of the more magical films I have seen the channel produce and such a well-writ story the whole of my heart and spirit were entranced and entrenched into the duration of the story therein! I positively love Magical Realism, and I love the suspension of our known realities for a bit past what can be logical and explained by ordinary means of understanding!

As the story continues to shift forward in the present for both Melissa & Jake, so too does the story shift forward for Sibell & Roger in the 15th Century! What I appreciated the most was the attention to details, and how the dual story-lines were fleshed out and assembled together. There is a lot of suspense between the two worlds, because at first your unsure what is happening to Melissa & Jake in the modern era vs. what is happening to Sibell & Roger in the previous era. The interesting bit for me is that Sibell & Melissa each had equally horrid men in their personal spheres, for Sibell that meant her overbearing, manipulative, and abusive father and for Melissa it meant an ex-husband who was far less than honourable. Eerily you can feel the heightened tension and allure of the shifting of the veils as Melissa digs closer to uncovering the truth the past is wanting to oust to light in the future. The story is a classic tale of how some secrets that linger over the expanse of a family’s historical past can never truly be kept locked and shackled in a time and place where memory is eluded.

I can assure you dear hearts, you get so attached to the 15th Century, between walking the vast estate and being caught up in the particulars of that century’s sociopolitical drama that by the time you ‘pull yourself’ forward back into the Manor to see how the research Melissa is doing into the ancestral records for her family & Jake’s family lineage, you nearly do not know which era you’d prefer to stay in a bit longer! I especially loved one scene where Melissa is being given the access to an ancient copy of the original will penned on behalf of Sibell; as she starts to read the words in Latin, her mind takes her physically back to Sibell’s time. She can sense and feel everything happening to Sibell at the time the will is being written. The visceral imagery and sensory connectedness was conveyed in such a convincing way that you could ascertain exactly what was happening in that ‘one single second’ of Sibell’s young life.

The heart of the story is etched inside the beguiling truths which separated lost loves through such a violent ending of their lives. In some ways, parts of Sibell & Roger’s story reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, fated in such a way as to not find happiness within their own lifetime; at least not one that would be forever lasting. An element of the backdrop is quite close to my own heart, is the pursuit of genealogical research! I loved watching Melissa find the tethering ties out of the records of the archivists and how the pursuit of research truly started to reveal much more than she could ever have hoped to find! The manner in which Sibell and Roger insert themselves into her reality is a bittersweet haunting any reader of psychological suspense will enjoy! Especially considering the way in which things end and resolve!

Please note: I marked off ‘vulgarity in literature’ only because Ms. Courtenay included a word stronger than a beloved mushroom I add to my miso soup! She used it quite appropriately and it did not offend me in the least! Especially as it was directed at a twiddling irksome landlord who had less sense than an armadillo! Occasionally throughout the text she might have used a few flavourful expressions, but again, they did not vex me nor did they make me flinch. Although another reader might thank me for the warning if their ears are more sensitive than mine. You could blink and miss them is what I am saying in other words!

A note on Ms. Courtenay: (composed in May)

In her acknowledgements she was crediting the benefit of being amongst the wonderful ChocLit authors & those she has been blessed to meet through the Historical Novel Society. These two acknowledgements highlighted themselves in my mind, as I had discovered the Historical Novel Society in 2013, although my wanderings to the site have been fleeting at best since then, which is why I attempted to encourage myself to return by adding their lovely badge to my sidebar! You’ll never fail to be surprised by what I share in my sidebar! Laughs. Secondly, on behalf of ChocLit authors, I can personally attest that they are some of the most giving and personable authors involved in social media, the book blogosphere, and in opening a channel of communication with both their readers and the book bloggers who review for ChocLit. I would even imagine the Tasters who get to read the books ahead of publication enjoy interacting with them as much as I do as well!

When I first started reviewing for ChocLit, I was not sure when I would be able to interact with the authors who penned the books I was soon becoming addicted to devouring! ChocLit titles for me are these uplifting tomes of romantic stories which invigorate my soul and spirit as much as they allow me to dance in the blissitudes of romance, strong relationships, and rally behind heroes and heroines who deserve our love and support. I love the uniqueness of each of the ChocLit authors as much as I love the diversity of story, setting, and thematic of their individual choice to explore. I consider myself blessed to have interacted with as many of the authors as I have thus far along, and one of the first who found me via Twitter was Ms. Courtenay who at the time I did not readily know as much about her writing style nor her eclectic breadth of stories.

Through the chat which is attached to #ChocLitSaturdays (the blog feature) I have had the honour of getting to know her a bit more on a personal level and her happy spirit continues to engage me. I suggest that anytime you find yourself wanting to interact or get to know the writers who pen stories you appreciate, that you’ll take a moment to seek them out. Many are on Twitter these days, and one blessing in regards to that medium is that Twitter is like a mini-blog and a blessing for chatterboxes (such as I) who love to converse & engage in conversations! Tweet an author and smile knowing that you just gave them such a sweet gift of joy: knowing that a reader out there is enjoying their work and appreciating their dedication to their craft!

Whilst the ChocLit authors are in NOLA for the convention this month, I simply wanted to extend my gratitude for how they have embraced my blog feature and the weekly chat which came out of the inspiration I felt as I read their novels. I wanted to give back a bit of the joy I had received this year through reading ChocLit novels, and in turn, I am finding fond new friends who enjoy meeting up for an hour on a Saturday and proving each week that Twitter is not a ghost towne on the weekends, but a lively place for Romance lovers! I do hope their bookish convention has wicked sweet weather, a hearty array of conversations & bookish delights, as well as plenty of chances to visit with one another and delight in the joy of being in New Orleans!

Namaste, dear ChocLit authors!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis book review is courtesy of ChocLitUK,

ChocLitUK Reviewercheck out my upcoming bookish event and mark your calendars!

Previously I have had the honour of

reviewing & showcasing guest posts by ChocLit Authors!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMy original schedule:

#ChocLitSaturdays Collage of Upcoming ChocLit Book Reviews created by Jorie in PicMonkey

My amended schedule:

#ChocLitSaturdays Collage of Upcoming ChocLit Book Reviews created by Jorie in PicMonkey

19 April: Book Review “The Maid of Milan” by Beverley Eikli
10 May: Guest Post about the two novels I am reading by Christina Courtenay
31 May & 7 June: Guest Posts:
(“A Western Heart”) + (“The Road Back”) by Liz Harris
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#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story
#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story

I am a Hostess of a weekly Romance, Chocolate, & tea chat entitled: #ChocLitSaturdays whose debut was on the 26 April! Kindly take a moment to read about how it all began & launched! I picked an hour I felt was best suited to all who wished to join in on the conversation & spend time conversing with fellow Romance readers & writers! The chat is held at http://www.tchat.io/rooms/choclitsaturdays for ease of adding the #hashtag to the convo as it evolves! Everyone is welcome, including blokes who regularly enjoy romantic fiction! Always feel free to drop in and out as your schedule allows you too, as I am archiving all the chats via my blog! I did fall a bit behind on archiving the chats & conversations for #ChocLitSaturdays, but I will be posting them as soon as they’re completed. Due to personal reasons I was not in a position to get caught up until now. I apologise for the absence and I am back on a regular posting schedule!

The chat on Twitter is a direct companion of this blog feature, to increase awareness of ChocLitUK novels & to celebrate the joy of reading them! As well as uniting Romance booklovers who love to ‘chat’ & ‘meet-up’ once a week for a light-hearted conversation, sharing next reads, book favourites, new discoveries, and a bit of life thrown into the mix! I wanted to find a way to increase readership for the feature and find a way to unite those of us who love to read Romance at the same time!

NOTE: We were previously meeting in Twubs; due to technical problems with logging in I can no longer access the chat room I originated there & have since changed to using ‘tchat.io’ instead. Please either use this new link to find us, or key in the hashtag on Saturday mornings/afternoons (given your time zone!) to participate! I will be happy to send you a tweet on Fridays if you are interested.

{ ALL of the chats will soon be archived! }
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To read about my latest postal bundle of ChocLit books
please read Jorie’s Box of Joy!

{SOURCES: Author photograph, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, Book Cover, and ChocLit Reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and were used by permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in FotoFlexer. #ChocLitSaturdays collages & chat badge were created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read


About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Saturday, 28 June, 2014 by jorielov in 15th Century, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Britian, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Gothic Literature, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, London, Magical Realism, Modern British Literature, Paranormal Romance, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Romance Fiction, Time Slip, Time Travel Romance, Vulgarity in Literature

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4 responses to “+Book Review+ The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay via #ChocLitSaturdays

  1. TuiSnider

    Hi Jorie! I don’t often read romance, but I am a sucker for the time travel & paranormal elements. And, heck, I do like when romance finds its way into a story that contains other elements. Sounds intriguing!

    p.s. I’m dropping by from the #StoryDam blog hop linky!
    Hope to see you at tonight’s chat. :)

  2. Jorie, your reviews are so thorough, I can’t read every word! lol But I read enough to know what I need and want to know :) I appreciate it and you never fail to whet my reading appetite!

    I’m TOTALLY with you on: “I am instinctively drawn into time slips, time travel, and Magical Realism stories due to the inertia of suspending time and reality as we know it to exist.” So beautifully expressed :) And, of course, what needs to be said about something as delectably named as “ChocLit”?! :D Thanks for the great review!

    • I am so thrilled to hear you say this, Ms. Kaine! :)

      You’ll even appreciate one of the ‘smaller’ characters I came to love which was a hedgehog! I have been fascinated by them for awhile, and although I did not mention it in my post, this little guy’s brief appearances made me smile! Love how she gave the little guy a personality!

      You’ll have to let me know after you read the story, what your own thoughts were! :)

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