Shadow Music Author:Julie Garwood Gabrielle, the last of hre roayl line, has just been betrothed to a stranger by King John himself. But once she meets Colm MacHugh, no other man will do. Against a landscape of vast castles and bloody battlefields, Colm and Gabrielle defy danger for a love as passionate as it is forbidden. For Colm is a fearsome warrior in possession of a pow... more »erful secret his enemies will do anything to possess.« less
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.
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.
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.
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.