Shadow Music, Julie Garwood's long awaited next historical set in the Highlands, centers around Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel and Laird Colm MacHugh, two very exaggerated versions of the cliched characters of nearly every Garwood historical. Gabrielle is beautiful, talented in both female and male arts, mischievous, and constantly fretting. Colm is fierce, feared, giant in size, and fiercely protective. Seems okay on paper, but this time, everything fell flat. We're never given examples that showcase each protagonists good and bad flaws, we're just told what they are. It honestly seems as though Ms. Garwood profiled the villains (who are numerous) more than she did the two main characters.
As mentioned in several other reviews, it is almost half-way through the book that Colm and Gabrielle even meet, and this too is missing the little extra spark that Ransom, The Secret, The Bride, etc. had. There's no chemistry and little interaction. Gabrielle is on her way to marry another laird who winds up murdered. When she is ruined by the lies of one of the villains, Brodick Buchanan (her cousin by marriage) persuades his ally Laird MacHugh to marry the girl. Gabrielle, exiled from England, goes to the Highlands with no intention of marrying Colm, but is quickly brought around to his point of view, though the marriage doesn't happen til quite later in the book.
All in all, this novel was mostly an awkward revisit to a place and time that most of us fell in love with, and JG would almost have done better to cut out the central story and written instead about the Buchanans & miscellany.
This is the kind of book I always expect from Julie Garwood. She begins the book with the story of St.Biel, which is where Princess Gabrielle is from. She weaves the story and you can imagine what it must have been like to live there.
Garwood is an excellent story teller, and I love her Highlander books and have missed them. This one is worth reading. It has the perfect pace and both the hero and heroine are created without driving the reader nuts. You know the kind of books that the heroine whines too much or whatever or the hero is too callous or whatever? Well, it does NOT happen in this book. You fall in love with both characters and their interactions with each other.
Anita R. reviewed Shadow Music (Highlands Lairds, Bk 3) on
Helpful Score: 7
I bought this book to take my mind off of school work, thinking I could read a couple chapters here, couple chapters there. Didn't happen. This book sucked me in and I must admit, I got NO homework done because I couldn't put the book down. I even contemplated trying to read while driving to pick up my son from a school function. LOL!! The historical piece at the beginning was interesting and created the perfect backdrop for the story to unfold. I'll be looking for more Garwood titles just as soon as I finish final exams.
I have not read any books by Julie Garwood before. This is a novel about greed, warring clans in Scotland, and a beautiful princess. The princess, Gabrielle, is a beauty that is beloved by all her know her. From a happy, carefree life, she is suddenly thrown into chaos by being bannished from king and country because of lies. Thr characters are full and believable and the story moves at a fast pace. Good book. I'll read more of Garwood's books.
I love anything set in Scotland, and being a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, I'm not afraid of committing to reading a really long book. But I gave up on this one around page 80. The author threw too many new characters at you too soon, and being in Scotland, half of the names started with Mc or Mac. Too confusing. In addition, I had no interest in the heroine, as she was "Miss Perfect" in every way. I'd rather read about someone who's more realistic. There are too many other books out there I'm waiting to read, so I was more than OK with quitting on this one.
As many other reviewers have said, Garwood's romantic tale of Gabrielle and Colm seems very rushed and crowded with lots of side characters. I am a big fan of her contemporary novels and decided to try one of her historicals. I guess it was the wrong one to start with.
Julie Garwood gets back to her historical roots in this one. I liked it, although not as much as Ransom and her others. The characters didn't seem to have enough time together and the book felt rushed. We do get to meet up with Brodick Buchannan from Ransom, which is a plus.
I just wanted more I guess.
This book definitely read like a Julie Garwood book - you could see her style come thru with the fairytale type intro about the background of the heroine's family. As with many of her books, the heroine is first depicted as a small child, demonstrating some of her qualities/characteristics that later appear in her as an adult. As usual, this heroine has something out of norm - in this case very level-headed, literate, and an excellent archer. The hero is larger than life, and only slightly flawed. An easy read, not as much angst/emotional turmoil - the book seems to run rather rapidly towards the end after you get about halfway, without much relationship between the hero/heroine. You could see all the stray heroes left hanging around waiting for sequels - makes it easy only having a few female characters with all these knights and Lairds. Not going on the keeper pile, but maybe worth reading as part of the series. There are shadow or music themes in the book.. disregard the irrelevant title and cover art.
Teresa B. reviewed Shadow Music (Highlands Lairds, Bk 3) on
Helpful Score: 1
I've read all of Garwood's historical romances and this one falls flat right out of the gate. The 2 main characters seem to have no relationship. The back story overshadows any hope of Gabrielle and Colm's romance coming to center stage. Very disappointing!
This is the third in the Highland Laird's series. Although, it begins with a similar format of the other two books, it has some intersting twist and turns to keep the reader engaged. Loved the tie in to the characters from one book to the other and the historical detail. Loved this series!
Shadow Music by Garwood contains her trademarks for her highland lairds and their women. Humor, love, honor, betrayal with Garwood's special talent for weaving the reader into the threads of the story, make this another keeper. Princess Gabrielle, with the help of her royal guard, save the life of Liam, brother to a fierce laird, Colm MacHugh. Yep, you guessed it the story is about Gabrielle and Colm. Ahh, but there is so much more. Intrigue, murder, deceit. A glimpse of the Buchanan (Ransom) and their alliance with the MacHughs, and of course, readers find out just where the title fits in this story. Truly enjoy this story and have re-read several times over.
In an attempt to ease feuding between clans and keep the Highlanders on his side, King John has arranged for Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel to marry Laird Monroe. Baron Coswald and Baron Percy will be furious. They have coveted Gabrielle and believed John's lies as he played them against each other, convincing them they each had a chance to claim her for themselves.
Laird Owen MacKenna envies and hates Laird Colm MacHugh so he devises a plan to kill Colm's brother Liam. Gabrielle and her guards stumble upon the group of men MacKenna hired to kill Liam. Gabrielle saves him then brings him to safety. After Laird Monroe is mysteriously murdered, Gabrielle's fate hangs in the balance and Colm is forced to come to her defense.
A treasure is believed to be hidden in St. Biel and all those who have heard of it are consumed with finding it. Coswald and MacKenna are no different. Colm soon discovers a treasure as well, one much more valuable than gold.
Strong characters combined with a vivid and interesting storyline create a historical novel rich in romance and sensuality in Shadow Music. Colm's intensity and arrogance are irresistible. Gabrielle is beautiful, sweet and adventurous; they are perfect for each other. I love that some of my favorite characters from Ms. Garwood's previous novels either make an appearance or are mentioned in the story as well. Shadow Music is awonderful historical romance and no one writes them better than Julie Garwood!