One with the Shadows
In a market glutted with vampire romances, Susan Squires writes tales that stand out and One With the Shadows is certainly a book to remember. Featuring an unusual and strangely likable heroine and a dark, tortured hero, this novel both moves the reader and keeps one riveted by suspense.
After spending her childhood on the streets of London and knowing only her first name, Kate has used a number of different last names and identities as she travels around Europe. She supports herself by reading tarot cards and fleecing the wealthy out of money with bogus readings. As the novel opens, she has just set up shop in Rome and is planning to do readings at a society gathering in hopes of luring possible future clients.
While at the gathering, Kate is confronted by Gian Urbano. Following this, she later finds herself in possession of a spectacular emerald – and the attention of Gian. Unknown to Kate, her spectacular emerald is a powerful stone that can drain a vampire’s power and Gian is honor bound to retrieve the stone and dispose of it before its power can be exploited. When Gian confronts Kate, they strike a deal: Gian will pay Kate for the stone so that she can have the independence she has craved, and then she will relinquish the stone.
However, nothing works quite as smoothly as that. Soon after Gian and Kate strike their deal, the action really heats up. Gian finds himself forced to remove Kate from Rome for her own safety. As the two spend more time together, they are forced to confront their attraction for one another.
The love story between Gian and Kate really is a lovely one. Kate has lived a far from perfect life, and she makes no secret of it with Gian. While she is not proud of some of what she has done, she lets Gian see her as she is. Even though Gian is horrified by some of her past and by her remorseless thieving, he finds himself drawn to her better qualities – just as the reader is. Squires does a wonderful job of creating a deeply flawed, yet quite engaging, heroine.
Gian is very much the tortured hero. Though strong, he is not the standard-issue alpha hero. His inner torments and the tortures he goes through all seem real and terrible, if perhaps a little too easily cured. Though not as vividly drawn as Kate, he is still a satisfying hero, and his compassion and love for Kate do feel believable.
Aside from the rather easy cures to some of Gian’s troubles, my main problem with the book lay in the rather rushed ending. The author does a wonderful job of building up suspense and creating an intriguing world only to resolve everything way too quickly. The payoff just didn’t feel quite believable as a result.
Still, even with its flaws, One With the Shadows is an unusual and quite satisfying romance. The world created in this series is an unusual one, with well thought out details not found in many other such books. While I have read Squires before, it has been a while and I look forward to reading some of her more recent books.
I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.