Title: Saving Shadow
Author: Laura Beers
Publisher: Phase Publishing, LLC, Seattle
Genre: Love & romance, regency
Year Published: 2017
Number of Pages: 247
Reviewed by Rebekah Cuevas for the Association for Mormon Letters
[Note: Ms. Beers is a first-time LDS author. We’re glad she’s wading in to share her talent. JN]
Saving Shadow centers around a strong-willed young woman asserting her independence in early 19th century Europe. Gifted with a photographic memory and an aristocratic upbringing, Lady Eliza Beckett navigates a thrilling life of espionage, social privilege, and a desire for inclusion and understanding in a world that rewards women of her situation for compliance and meekness rather than intellectual or political ambition.
Eliza, bearing the childhood wounds of maternal neglect and haunted by the blood she’s spilled while in service to the crown, loves the freedom and adventure that life as a secret agent affords, but she still yearns for the affection of someone who truly understands her. As a lady of the peerage, she’s never in want of admirers, but she spurns the advances of everyone she meets until she’s assigned to a mission with Lord Benedict Sinclair, another agent.
Everyone with an interest agrees that Benedict will help heal Eliza’s emotional wounds while coaxing her into the safety of retirement by making her fall in love with him, but despite her quickly growing feelings for Benedict, finding a safe resolution proves difficult for Eliza, whose secret identity is that of the notorious assassin Shadow. Shadow is on the hit list of all the nation’s enemies, but Eliza’s final mission may be her most important yet and she accepts the risk, both to her life and her heart by working with Benedict to bring his murderous step-brother to justice.
While the heart of the novel is undoubtedly the relationship between Eliza and Benedict, there were parts where the high-stakes elements of the plot (to rescue abducted women and put the story’s antagonist behind bars while protecting Eliza’s anonymity as Shadow) were set aside perhaps unrealistically in favor of prolonged courtship scenes between the two. I would have enjoyed seeing their relationship develop less over chess and on walks in the woods and more over training sessions, sparring, and other plot-propelling action, for example.
Beers has done her research into Regency-era dress and convention and her attention to detail awards the reader with a charming backdrop for the story’s action and romance. Anyone with a taste for clean, empire-waisted intrigue and passion will find Saving Shadow accessible and entertaining, as Beers successfully weaves the light-hearted with the serious while dealing with the story’s more violent themes of murder, human trafficking, and abuse.