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The Shadow and the Star

The Shadow and the Star

4.1 23
by Laura Kinsale

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From nationally acclaimed bestselling author Laura Kinsale comes a boldly original, breathlessly unforgettable tale of honour, adventure and undying love.

The Shadow is wealthy, powerful and majestically handsome, he is a man of dark secrets - a master of the ancient martial arts of an exotic distant land. Scarred by a childhood of


From nationally acclaimed bestselling author Laura Kinsale comes a boldly original, breathlessly unforgettable tale of honour, adventure and undying love.

The Shadow is wealthy, powerful and majestically handsome, he is a man of dark secrets - a master of the ancient martial arts of an exotic distant land. Scarred by a childhood of shocking degradation, he has sworn to love chastely ... but burns with the fires of unfulfilled passion.

The Star is lovely, innocent and nearly destitute, and drawn to him by a fevered yearning she could never deny - following her enigmatic ′shadow warrior′ into a dangerous world of desire and righteous retribution.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kinsale ( The Prince of Midnight ) makes a sincere attempt to rise above the standard historical romance by introducing an element of oriental mystery. Sadly, the attempt flounders in its own pretension, and the work is most enjoyable where it is most conventional. Kinsale alternates here between two related stories. One, set in Hawaii, follows young Samuel Gerard, whose childhood has been a nightmare of sexual and physical abuse. Given a home by the benevolent Lady Ashland, he soon becomes the protege of enigmatic Japanese butler Dojun, who coaches Sam in a Japanese system of fighting and self-discipline. In the second story, set in 1880s London, the impoverished but resolutely respectable Leda Etoile learns that Samuel, now full-grown and dazzlingly handsome, is behind a baffling series of thefts marring Queen Victoria's jubilee festivities. Unemployed and without funds, Leda accepts a position as Samuel's secretary and gradually succumbs to his charms. Samuel thinks that he has no interest in Leda, but then he also thinks that Dojun's training was disinterested. He's wrong on both counts. (Oct.)
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Magic and beauty flow from Laura Kinsale’s pen.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Laura Kinsale has managed to break all of the rules of standard romance writing and come away shining.”
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"Magic and beauty flow from Laura Kinsale’s pen."

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Read an Excerpt

The Shadow and the Star

By Laura Kinsale

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Laura Kinsale
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780380761319

Chapter One

London. 1881

Leda came awake suddenly in the depth of night. She had been dreaming of cherries. Her body made the jerk of transition, an unpleasant startle that sucked in air and twitched muscles and left her heart pounding as she stared into the dark and tried to get her breath-to make sense of the difference between sleep and reality.

Cherries ... and plums, had it been? Cobbler? Pudding? A receipt for cordial? No ... ah-no... the bonnet. She closed her eyes. Her brain swam dreamily over the question of whether it would be the cherries or the plums to trim the ready-made, gable-crowned Olivia bonnet that she could buy directly, at the end of the week when Madame Elise paid out for the day work.

She felt instinctively that the bonnet was a much safer and more agreeable topic for contemplation than the one that she knew she ought to be contemplating -- which was her dark room and the various even darker corners of it, and what disturbance it might have been that had woken her from a sound and much-needed slumber.

The night was almost silent, except for the tick of her clock and the soft breeze that flowed into the attic window, carrying the scent of the Thames tonight instead of the usual smells of vinegar and distilling. Queen's weather, they were calling this early summer. Leda felt it on her cheek. The celebrations of Her Majesty'sJubilee had made the evening streets noisier than usual, what with the crowds and commotion of the entertainments, and perfectly out-landish foreigners from every corner of God's earth walking about, wearing turbans and jewels and looking just as if they'd got right down off their elephants.

But the night was quiet now. In the open casement, she could just see the outline of her geranium, and the cloudy pile of pink silk that she'd finished at two A. M. and laid across the table. The ball gown was to be delivered by eight, tucked and ruched and the embroidery in the train completed. Leda herself had to be dressed and at Madame Elise's back door before that, by six-thirty, with the gown in a wicker basket so that one of the workroom girls could try it on for faults before the porter whisked it away.

She tried to regain her precious slumber. But her body lay stiff and her heart kept thumping. Was that a noise? She wasn't certain if it was a real sound she heard or only the pump of her own heart. So, naturally, her heart just bat all the harder, and the idea, which had been floating nebulously at the edge of admission, finally took full control of her brain that there was someone in the small room with her.

The shock of alarm which Leda experienced at confronting this notion would have made Miss Myrtle snort. Miss Myrtle had been of a courageous disposition. Miss Myrtle would not have lain frozen in her bed, her heart pounding. Miss Myrtle would have leapt to her feet and taken hold of the poker, which would have been placed in a conveniently handy position next to her pillow, because Miss Myrtle had made it a point of habit to plan ahead for just such an emergency as not finding oneself alone in one's own room in the dark.

LeJa was not made of such stuff. She knew she'd been something of a disappointment to Miss Myrtle in that respect. She did have a poker, but she'd forgotten to arrange it close by before she went to bed, being ever so weary, and the daughter of a frivolous Frenchwoman.

Unarmed, she had no choice but to take the next logical step and convince herself that there was most certainly no one in her room. Decidedly not. She could see most of it from where she was, and the shadow on the wall was only her coat and umbrella on the hook where she'd hung them a month ago, after the last cool weather in mid-May. She had a chair and a table with her rented sewing machine; a washstand with a bowl and pitcher. The shape of the dressmaker's dummy by the mantelpiece gave her a momentary start, but when she squinted more closely, she could look right through the open weave of the torso and skirt to the square shape of the fireplace grate. She could see all of these things, even in the dark; her bed was pushed up to the wall in the little garret, so unless this intruder was hanging from the ceiling beam above her like a bat, she must be alone.

She closed her eyes.

She opened them again. Had that shadow moved? Was it just a bit too long for her coat, fading down into the obscurity near the floor? Was not that deeper darkness the shape of a man's feet?

Nonsense. Her eyes were gritty with exhaustion. She closed them again, and took a deep breath.

She opened them.

She stared at the shadow of her coat. And then she threw back the sheet, scrambled up, and cried, "Who is it?"

Nothing but silence answered this comprehensive inquiry. She stood in her bare feet on the cool, rough wood, fueling foolish.

With a sweeping circle of her pointed toe, she passed her foot through the deep shadow beneath her coat. She took four steps backward, toward the fireplace, and groped for the poker. With that instrument in hand, she felt much more the mistress of the situation. She moved the poker in the direction of her coat, jabbing the iron rod all round in the fabric, and then waving it into each deep corner of the room and even under her bed.

The shadows went perfectly empty. No hidden intruder. Nothing at all but vacant space ...


Excerpted from The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale Copyright © 2007 by Laura Kinsale. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Laura Kinsale is a winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America. She became a romance writer after six years as a geologist -- a career which consisted of getting out of bed in the middle of the night and driving hundreds of miles alone across west Texas to sit at drilling rigs, wear a hard hat, and attempt to boss around oil-covered males considerably larger than herself. This, she decided, was pushing her luck. So she gave all that up to sit in a chair and stare into space for long periods of time, attempting to figure out What-Happens-Next. She and her husband David currently divide their time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Texas.

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Shadow and the Star 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Crystal_ More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good surprise. The characters are multi-dimensional and the story is goes from delicate to heart-wrenching to mind-sweeping.It is one of those touching magical books that make you believe in the power of communication and realistic enough not to give us an easy happy ever after ending but the impression that love is built over time, patiently and has to be worked on constantly. It is a delicious labour though and this author gets it right.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read probably 75 romance novels a year...I'm a bit sheepish to admit. This one has been my favorite of the last 15 months. I stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish. Kinsale does an extraordinary job with the main couple, secondary characters, plot, and setting. The story of Sam and Leda will stay with you. FYI: this a sequel to The Hidden Heart.
SunDancer1 More than 1 year ago
This was my first read from this author but, it won't be the last. The story shifted back between the past and the present filling in very nicely all the blanks about the early lives of the main characters. The authors writing of the supporting characters were so smoothly incorporated that, they were also an intergral part of the book. To see such a beautifully described male find such a stong partner when both has so much against them was heart-warming. I won't give away any spoilers. Just wished we could have witnessed more of the ever after possibly see a future little shadow/star in the making.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read, made me cry at some points.
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srbSH More than 1 year ago
His psychological scars have shaped his life with the Ashland family for whom he's an indispensable amanuensis. A man with golden looks, who has picked his surname out of a book, Samuel Gerard is tirelessly devoted to Lady Tess and to her daughter Kai, Lady Catherine, whom he dreams of marrying. To this end he has built his fortune in the shipping trade. From his teens he has become part of the Japanese subculture in Hawaii and has trained in shadow arts with the Japanese Master Dojun to develop rigid self-control and physical mastery. In parallel chapters the novel tells Leda Etoile's story: an orphan brought up to behave as a lady and know all the strictures of society, she's now an impoverished seamstress trying to get by. Leda has wistful notions about love and is disturbed by nightmares of a presence in her garret. In London after almost two decades to reconnect with society, the ladies and Samuel meet Leda at a fitting with the modiste she works for. Leda is taken with Samuel who looks at her intently. He is the shadow in her room, by night stealing priceless Japanese swords, hiding them in her room until he places them in bondage houses so that the police can close them down. Leda is pulled into the Ashland household as Samuel's secretary and to advise him how to court Kai. But that's a lost cause on three counts: Kai thinks of Samuel as an adored brother; there's a pull towards Leda that Samuel can't resist; and their naïve, major indiscretion leads to marriage. He's the man for her: Leda reveres and admires Samuel because of, not in spite of, his past; and she gives him her love in an offbeat, ladylike, and determined way. After a thrilling, final confrontation with two Japanese clans, and saved by the intervention of Leda and a shark, Samuel finally throws his reserve to the wind and knows that only she is the woman for him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the heroine was very cute with her overly polite speech and the hero was great with his matter-of-fact observations. I would have liked to have them really work out the issues and understand each other, although I did buy that they would fall in love. I'd give it the full five stars except that I felt they hadn't ironed out the problem at the bottom of it all by the end. Otherwise, very fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had not read a romance novel in years. This story was wonderful. Thoughtful writing and true romance. Respectful of the true feelings between man and woman.