I started a new book and I thought it would be fun to dust off my Featured Debut feature. I didn't want to do a Featured Debut of the last two books that I've read because I wasn't sure how they would turn out, and I only do this for books that I'm reasonably certain that I will like.
MASTER OF SHADOWS by Janet Lorimer has been described to me as a fairy tale for adults. This is the second Juno Books novel that I've featured here, and both covers were done by Timothy Lantz. Lantz has done many covers for Juno Books. However, even though I like this cover, it just was not as stunning as the cover he did for Wind Follower. That cover (you can see it here) really makes you stop and take notice. Such a feat must be difficult for an artist to duplicate.
The blurb on the back of the book is brief:
This pretty much sums up the action in the first chapter. Ariel meets a stranger in the woods when she goes to fetch a bottle of water from a spring that is rumored to have healing powers. From this description you might think that this is a medieval fantasy, but it's not.
Belief is a powerful charm. . .
Never go into the woods at night, especially if the moon is full.
The old woman's warning, hissed years ago in Ariel's ear, came back that night to haunt her.
They say there's a beast that lives in those woods...a beast that walks and talks like a man.
An ominous shadow blocked the pale light and a powerful hand clamped down on her shoulder.
"Do not move. Do not turn around."
The voice was male, deep and harsh in the silence. At the sound of it, Ariel uttered a startled cry.
"Ariel McPherson . . ."
A guttural whisper in the dark, but he'd made her name sound like velvet being stroked.
Ariel must trespass onto the stranger's property to fetch the bottle of water, and he catches her in the act. The stranger will not let him see his face as he questions her. He's a bit touchy-feely for my taste, but you get the definite impression that "he's just not from 'round here." This feeling is strengthened in the second chapter, when Ariel reflects on the archaic words he uses and his unusual accent.
There's a mystery established up front, having to do with her father's disappearance. Her mother is just not coping and the 25 year-old Ariel seems to be trying to help her mother keep it together.
There is a longer blurb at Juno's website; here's the rest:
Ariel's life had been a modern fairy tale, but her father's baffling disappearance brought it all to a crashing end. She meets the enigmatic Louvel one night, but never sees his face -- even after accepting employment at his magnificent estate. When it becomes imperative to solve the mystery of what happened to her father, Louvel appears to be helping her . . . but can Ariel trust a man who lives in the shadows?This blurb and the romance set-up reminds me of a very old romance novel called A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Since none of the novels that I've read lately have had any good love stories, so this novel might be coming at just the right time for me.