Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past

by Carmen Stefanescu


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625266453
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Pages: 252
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)

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Shadows of the Past 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Wild-About-Books-ReviewKW More than 1 year ago
Anne and her boyfriend Neil are on vacation in England to reconcile. What is supposed to be a quick hike to a romantic inn turns into a nightmare. One night next to a forest that emanates evil draws Anne into a tragedy that played itself out over 500 years before. Genevieve, a 15th century nun, visits Anne and beckons her to follow. Anne cannot resist and finds herself in the forest, drawn to a giant oak tree. This vision proves to be a dream, but now Anne is compelled to discover the story of Genevieve and set her free, if she can. Caught in a freak, violent thunderstorm, Neil and Anne seek refuge in an abbey ruin. But the ruin is not without secrets, secrets that could see both of them killed. For an evil stalks what should be blessed ground, and it seeks to prevent the two lovers from reconciliation and Anne from helping Genevieve.  Stefanescu has done her research. The 15th century was not a romantic time period, and Stefanescu brings it to life in all its “glory.” Beginning less than ten years before the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition, superstition and fear ran rampant and being branded a witch meant certain death. The corruption in the church at this time is legendary and eventually led to Martin Luther, his 95 Theses, and the Protestant Reformation in 1517. The plague still cropped up randomly throughout Europe and England, wiping out entire villages. While the Renaissance had begun in other parts of Europe, it was just filtering into England as the War of the Roses was ongoing, only ending with the death of King Richard II at Bosworth Field in 1485. In short, this was not an easy time to live. Against this backdrop, we meet Genevieve, whose life is not surprisingly filled with desperation, sorrow, prejudice, and struggle. We follow her life through its many tragedies and few triumphs. As we do, we can only marvel at her resilient spirit, her ability to continue to love even though she has lost so much, and her desire to live despite it all. Finally, when all seems hopeless, she finds true love. But it is a forbidden love doomed from the outset as she is a nun and he is a priest. What will become of them? The author does an excellent job seamlessly toggling back and forth between the story of Anne and Genevieve. I am more drawn to Anne’s story than Genevieve’s. This is because of the flowery prose in Genevieve’s section. Although this type of prose is indicative of the time period, it is not to my taste. That would be my only quibble with the book, even as I understand the reasoning behind it. Still, this is a compelling story. I read it quickly and wanted to find out what became of Genevieve’s spirit and Anne and Neil’s relationship. I would gladly read a second book, if there is to be one. (The author certainly left an opening for a sequel.) I would recommend it to people who enjoy atmospheric stories of the paranormal, love, passion, and history.
BookBadgerDH More than 1 year ago
Carmen Stefanescu demonstrates an appreciation of language that weaves beautifully through the pages of Shadows of the Past. She pins together stories of two women, one from the late Middle Ages and the other a modern business woman, and she does this in a way that defies traditional character roles. Her smooth transitions between the time periods in which these women lived blend their passions and heartaches, as if only days separated them. Neither is able to rid herself of her past, Genevieve from the memory of her brutal father and then the equally harsh Abbess, and Anne from a lover’s betrayal. And then there’s that forest, with its haunting silence where even dried leaves crush quietly beneath their feet, and the hounds of Hell circle just out of sight. But, they can’t resist the urge that draws them deeper and deeper into it, that dark place where nightmares live. Stefanescu spices the plot with Old Bertha. Her potions and spells rival Shakepeare’s witches; although, she never dances around the cauldron. But, dance or not, she seems to bring Genevieve equal measures of hope and despair. Perhaps the same is true for Anne with Neil. Therein lies the charm of this love story, nothing and no one is fully good or bad, not even the heroines. And, that makes them relatable to all of us. Well, maybe the Abbess was all bad. In all this, a romance crosses the ages, crosses centuries, without fading or losing any of the fire that sparked it. For a tap on your heart and a tingle in your spine, right down to the last page, I invite you to join Genevieve and Anne in their joys and sorrows and, yes, their fears in this tightly-written story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Following the Anne's life and the newly found knowledge of her connection to her past. It was a unique page turner, one that kept you guessing and wondering what was to happen next. There were moments where I wanted to cringe and turn away from what was happening. Other times where I wanted to scream at the characters to run away. Anne not knowing what she was getting herself into following the voice inside her head, visions and dreams. She and Neil find themselves in a predicament where turning back is not an option. To solve the mystery of their own past, they must keep going. Will Anne's past haunt her for the rest of her life? Will Neil and Anne get out of this alive? Genevieve is adamant about finding peace once and for all...
Lori_Zalewski More than 1 year ago
Find this review and more at Lusty Penguin Reviews! Shadows of the Past is an entertaining paranormal romance that also perfectly blends in elements of horror and mystery. Original and intricate, this story with its many thrilling plot twists keeps readers at the edge of their seats. Alternating viewpoints between Genevieve, a nun living during medieval times, and Anne, living in the 1990s, Carmen Stefanescu creatively tells Genevieve’s story from childhood to adulthood as well as Anne’s attempt to reconcile with her lover, Neil. Genevieve’s life is a difficult one filled with fear and loss, but it’s her amazing ability to overcome these horrible events that makes her such a compelling character. While haunted by ghosts, Anne shows great strength in sharing her fears with Neil, which endeared her character to me. But, the most stunning part of this story is intensely creepy cursed forest and its connection to Genevieve and Anne. Advancing the plot, well-developed secondary characters complement Anne and her need to know what happened to Genevieve in the cursed forest. The introduction of these characters makes the reader wonder how they are connected to the people in Genevieve’s life, which adds depth to this story. Complete with hair-raising moments, two captivating stories, and a shocking cliffhanger ending, Shadows of the Past is a well-crafted novel that leaves the reader wanting more. I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
wiccawitch4 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I don't usually read books that aren't YA books anymore but occasionally I come across one that sparks my interest like this one did.The author Carmen Stefanescu did a amazing job on describing people and places and I felt like I was in the story from start to finish. I loved all the historical elements to the story and all the attention to detail that Carmen puts into the story especially when it came to the wiccan people and their practices. As a wiccan myself I really appreciated this aspect.I also loved the villain in the story I always say you can't have a good story without an good villain and wow I wanted to best part though was the tremendous love felt throughout the whole book that through all the tragic loss and pain there was still love. Anne and her husband Neil are trying to rekindle their romance with a week long vacation and some hiking when they get lost in the woods. The woods are spooky and Anne begins to have dreams and visions of a woman who looks very much like her and leads them deeper into the forest. They soon learn that this may be the tragic restless spirit of Genevieve a nun from the local Abby with a most tragic and lost past and who is still being chased by the one thing she feared most. Can they save her and themselves before it is to late? The book goes back and forth from the past to the present which in some books I have found annoying but quite enjoyed in this book. I was a little confused for maybe the first two chapters but quickly learned what all the back and forth meant. Genevieve quickly became my favorite character and I was hooked on her heartbreaking story! I just couldn't put the book down! I highly recommend this book to one and all! `
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over the past few days I had the delight to read Carmen Stefanescu’s novel ‘Shadows of the past’. A novel that beautifully weaves together tales of the past and modern times. Anne, the heroine, is a successful businesswoman who tried to rekindle her relationship with Neil after a two-year separation. They leave for a one-week trip during which they camp in a strange forest. A dream Anne has leads to the discovery of human bones and a bejeweled cross in the hollow of a tree. The discovery opens the door to the life of Genevieve, a nun from medieval England, but also stirs an evil spirit that lurks in the forest and hunts the ruins of an abbey nearby. Although much different in personalities, Genevieve and Anne are connected in a way that the reader will want to discover, avidly reading to the last page thanks to Carmen Stefanescu’s wonderful writing. A novel that I couldn’t put down, touching, tragic, suspenseful, simply compelling. Carmen Stefanescu’s novel is a riveting story that will make the reader fall in love with its enticing mystery, skillfully blending elements of love and hatred, magic and superstitions, murder and repentance. I gladly give it a FIVE STARS. Liliana Soare
PaulettePM More than 1 year ago
Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of the Past was a great read that I enjoyed from the first page through the last sentence, that I was sorry to see end; I tried to savor this one, make it last, that’s how entertaining a read it is. The author writes a tightly worded, intelligent, story, a story within a story, then and now, from a past that needed resolution in a modern day couple. The dreams and visions the protagonist, Anne, experienced set the stage for the unfolding of a story, brilliantly told, moving through her as a past life apparition, Genevieve. The character development of Anne and her partner Neil, and other story counterparts is really well done, but the star of he story is the tragic Genevieve, as if taken from the pages of Shakespeare, one can not imagine less unfortunate issues to befall a human being, and in counterpoint is the lusciously evil antagonist the Abbess, who you read page after page hoping she gets hers. The pages invite the reader in with a wanting to know what is going to happen to Anne, to Genevieve, and page after page as the tension builds the reader is not disappointed. This is an excellently crafted work, by an author who clearly knows how to write, who understands literature, and knows how to tell a compellingly great story. I loved this one.
OanaMatei More than 1 year ago
“Shadows of the Past” is a truly compelling story about loss and grief, mysteries that go back to Medieval Times and dark powers that push people to commit unspeakable crimes. A cursed forest, demons, witchcraft, strange rituals and a forbidden love… all these elements come together to build a suspenseful, beautifully written paranormal/ romance novel that will keep you glued to the pages. The universe Carmen ¿tef¿nescu has managed to create is full of magic and superstitions, while her characters are capable of love, hatred, sin, murder and repentance. The story follows the destinies of two women who live in two different times: Genevieve is a poor girl who lives with her family in a small village in England, in 1468, and Anne is a successful businesswoman who, in the summer of 1990, decides to go on a mountain trip with the man who betrayed her two years prior and now she’s ready to forgive. Camping near a strangely silent forest, Anne dreams of a nun, a lost, tormented soul that leads her to an oak tree deep in the forest, by a stream. Once she wakes up, she convinces Neil they have to find the oak tree and discover why the ghost wanted her to go there… maybe the young woman suffered a violent death and she couldn’t find her peace. When they find a human skull and a crucifix in the hollow of the oak, they embark in an adventure that might cost their lives, for there’s an evil spirit that lurks in the forest and hunts the ruins of the abbey nearby. There are so many things I loved about this novel that I don’t even know where to start. First, I must say that Genevieve’s heart-breaking story was my favorite part. Carmen ¿tef¿nescu draws a beautiful, realistic picture of Medieval England, when people’s superstitions led to the persecution of wise healers who were considered witches. The legend of the cursed forest is absolutely fascinating, with its red-eyed ghost dogs, the stream with clear, cold water that turns into tar at night and the unsettling stillness of the trees… The cursed forest took everything from Genevieve… will it also hurt Anne? And what exactly is the connection between the two? Even though by the end of the book I kind of guessed what the mysterious bond was about, the author still did a great job at building the suspense and leading to a resolution that the readers will be grateful for. After all, we all want happy endings, and Carmen ¿tef¿nescu delivers hers in a unique, surprising way. I also loved the fact that I could relate to the characters and Genevieve’s tragic destiny really made me sad, which is a great thing! It’s always a plus when the author manages to make the reader cry and laugh at the same time with the characters. This proves insight and great writing talent. While Genevieve is a frail young woman who cannot achieve her happiness because of the society she lives in, Anne is a strong, determined woman who always takes matters into her own hands. “Shadows of the Past” is a real page-turner and a light romance story that, once again, reminded me love is more powerful than any kind of evil and if two people are meant to be together, then they will find each other even in another time or space. There were moments when I couldn’t read fast enough – that’s how much I enjoyed this novel.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Two women, born centuries apart are connected through the ages by the secrets hidden in an ancient oak tree. Anne longs for reconciliation with her old boyfriend, but it must feel right in her heart. Genevieve wishes for hidden truths to be uncovered so she may finally feel eternal peace in death. When Anne and Neil discover the remains of a person long dead and a beautiful gem encrusted cross, they are left to embark on a journey into another realm where magic abounds, but witchcraft is feared. Who was Genevieve? What is her story? How does it relate to Anne’s life? Why was Anne chosen to free Genevieve after all these years? Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of the Past is a paranormal mystery filled with suspense, intrigue and what almost appears to be a never-ending puzzle. Dark, with a strong writing style, Carmen Stefanescu details a story of the past melting into the future in order to receive eternal peace and to tell the truth of the events that led to one young nun believed to have simply disappeared. Was witchcraft involved? Was it the hands of fate seeking justice? Ms. Stefanescu has succeeded in keeping a dark veil of intrigue over her tale, leaving her readers with the opportunity to live out “what-ifs” as this tale unfolds. If you enjoy the weight of a dark tale, with possible eyes watching from the shadows, as well as a feeling of “otherness,” this is a tale to pick up and enjoy, not too fast, not too light, a great, thought-provoking read. I received this copy from Carmen Stefanescu in exchange for my honest review.
2Dab More than 1 year ago
Review of Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of The Past, published by WildChild Publishing. I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. The author’s terrific sense of time, in the time of long ago when witches and superstitions ruled, carried me into a fairytale not unlike the tales told by the Brothers Grimm. This tale, of course, has the innocent and beguiling waif, Genevieve, who is all things pure, sweet, intelligent and unafraid of hard labor. After a childhood of grief and misfortune, Genevieve believes she’s found a safe haven within the walls of an abbey which stands deep in the woods. An abbey should be a sanctuary, a place of peace and tranquility, but not when it’s ruled by an evil, satanic entity, the Abbess Clementa, whose jealousy drives her to extreme cruelties and murders. Clementa is jealous of Genevieve’s beauty, her piety, and of the love she’s found with a handsome young priest. The couple’s bid for freedom is doomed. Obscene violence and bloody death await the pair of lovebirds when the cruel Abbess has her way. The frightening fairytale lives on through the centuries in the haunted woods. Evil awaits travelers even now in the present day. On a hike, Anne and her fiancé, Neil, find themselves pawns in a maniacal ghost’s game of retaliation and revenge. Questions arise—why Ann, why Neil? Reincarnation is the answer. You’ll want to ready every word of this macabre tale of love lost, revenge beyond the physical, and love triumphant. Carmen Stefanescu delivers ghostly apparitions, a cunning, blood thirsty antagonist, and plenty of twists and turns in her novel Shadows of The Past.
ReaderMollyD More than 1 year ago
Here is a book to cozy up to when it’s dark and rainy outside. I did and happily escaped into a world of haunted forests, enchanted streams, medieval abbeys and tantalizing secrets.  Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of the Past travels in time and involves an unfortunate but beautiful young nun Genevieve who lives in fifteenth century England. It describes her past in which she became an orphan and a nun—also the evil she is forced to grapple with. The book alternates with accounts of present day Anne, successful businesswoman, who travels with her boyfriend to the place where the young nun once lived. There, Anne becomes haunted by visions and dreams—and is drawn into a mystery she feels compelled to solve. Whose skeleton is it she discovers in a hollow tree? Who are the ghosts from the past who begin to haunt both her dreams and her waking life—particularly that of a sad young nun with red hair and riveting green eyes?  And what might Anne’s connection be to all of this--and especially to Genevieve’s life? I became pulled in by this story’s plot. I also enjoyed the atmosphere created by the author: her winds truly howl, her forest reeks of dreadful secrets, her red-eyed devil dogs inspire terror. And on a happier note streams sing enchanted songs and flowers, like the oft-mentioned wood anemone, whisper of gentle secrets shared by lovers. I found the romantic aspect of the book appealing. A love story winds its way throughout the tale. My only complaint might be that I wanted more dimension to the ‘evil’ characters. They just felt evil—and I couldn’t get beyond that. What made them the way they were? But in general I found that most of the characters seemed real. All in all I consider Shadows of the Past a great escapist read for both young adults and adults. I look forward to the sequel!
All-Night-Books More than 1 year ago
This book will pull you in and not let go until you get to the end. It has lots of paranormal aspects and not much romance but this book is perfect in that aspect. It takes you on the journey of Anne righting the wrongs of the past. It's not a easy job and the author does a beautiful job weaving a incredible story. I am hoping the way this book ended means that there will be another one. Please let there be another one. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story switches from 1480 England to 1990 England. The 1480 segment deals with the life of Genevieve, a young nun, and her ill-fated love for a young priest, Father Andrew. The 1990 segment introduces Anne Ellet and Neil Blackwell, and their bitter breakup, and subsequent attempts at reconciliation. All her life Anne has been haunted by strange dreams, or maybe a better explanation would be psychic episodes. She has always felt that she was someone else in a past life. There is an aura of sadness and evil weaving its way through this story, subtly portrayed, but nevertheless there. Anne and Neil are hiking through the ‘cursed forest,’ given the name because no animal or birdlife has ever been seen there. Anne follows the ghostly figure of a young woman in medieval costume deep into the forest. She and Neil become caught in a dreadful storm. Back to Genevieve, the young nun who has been nurtured since childhood by the kind Abbess, Sister Dominica. After Sister Dominica dies she is replaced by Sister Clementa, a cruel and evil woman who eventually brings about the ruin of the Abby and all its occupants. She hates Genevieve and plots to have her burned at the stake for being a witch. This is a riveting story, quite chilling in parts, but one you will not want to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu is a dark tale that, from beginning to end, maintains an atmosphere of seething malevolence. The author has woven together two stories: the history of Genevieve, a 15th Century nun, and the modern-day account of Anne, a woman attempting to reconcile with the husband who cheated on her. During a vacation meant to cement their reconciliation, Anne and her husband stray into the same “cursed forest” where much of Genevieve’s terrible story played out centuries before. There Anne begins experiencing flashbacks to a past life and discovers mysteries she must resolve on behalf of Genevieve. Along the way she encounters people, both good and evil, she knew before and realizes even her husband is caught with her in this centuries-old opportunity for retribution. This book is atypical of any Paranormal Romance I’ve read before. Most of those feature steamy love scenes; this doesn’t. And many of them have a characteristic edge. This book felt more old-fashioned to me, a cross between a ghost story and a Gothic Romance. Genevieve’s account moves from hardship to hardship and had me wondering what more terrible could happen to her, until it did. Anne must sort through the many layers of betrayal that surround her, most of which stem from her past life as Genevieve. I thought the author did a good job of supplying sensory details: we get to hear/smell/see/taste the surroundings. On the down side, some word choices seemed awkward, which interrupted the flow of the narrative for me. All in all, this book reminded me of a modern-day fairy tale—one of the very darkest ones as penned by the Brothers Grimm. A good choice if you’re in the mood to spend some time lost in a “cursed forest”!
RalucaM More than 1 year ago
A very interesting book, once you start it you really must keep on reading until it's over! And the alternative past and present threads of the story make it even more tantalizing, urging you to discover what's next. It's a book for everybody, it has action, romance, history and fantasy, nothing good is missing :-) The characters are depicted vividly, the plot is catchy,so you should read this book!
RochelleRosesandThorns More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past was a pleasant read. It was a nice escape, but I’m afraid I found the plot fairly obvious. I still wanted to read it to find out how Anne would discover what she needed to know in order to help Genevieve finally rest, but I pretty much had it figured out from the beginning. Maybe that’s because I’m a writer and that’s how I would have written it. Maybe it really will keep you guessing. I did enjoy the book.
bucmjt More than 1 year ago
'I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.  The gifting in no way influenced the outcome of this review.' Shadows of The Past by Carmen Stefanescu is an extremely well written book.  It is written both as a historical romance and a contemporary romance, skillfully switching between the two without any missteps.  It is edge of your seat exciting, with a cliff hanger in every chapter.  And I loved the ending.  
JenniferWarrickDavis More than 1 year ago
Worth the Read I was given an e-copy in exchange for my honest review. I liked the paranormal storyline and the connection of the characters in the present and past. There were a few areas that seemed to drag and a couple of areas that seemed to be a little rushed. The main issue I had was with the character Neil, Anne's boyfriend. After she had given him a second chance and all was forgiven, he kept on and on bringing up the situation. Even though there were a few little issues here and there, it was worth the read. If there were a second installment, I would read it to see what happened next with the characters.
Robert-Clark More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past, by Carmen Stefanescu, is, in effect, two novels intertwined into one. One, set several hundred years ago, revolves around Genevieve and, to a lesser extent, around Andrew. The other, set in the present, has Anne as the main protagonist with Neil as the secondary main character. While Shadows of the Past has to be considered a paranormal romance, the romance element is simply one part of a complex story. The paranormal aspects of the book start out as hints and suppositions. Even well into the novel the reader has to wonder if the supernatural elements are really there, or are the products of the characters’ minds. Was the venomous snake crawling up to Neil a sending from some evil power or was it just a snake in the wrong place at the wrong time? Are the spectral figures Anne sees real or products of her imagination? Is there an actual linkage between Anne and Genevieve? Only toward the end does Stefanescu leave no doubt that the paranormal is operating as a major factor in her novel. The constant movement within the two basic time frames, and some back and forth jumps within each, can prove a bit disconcerting at first. However, unlike some novels, in Shadows of the Past the two story lines are always clearly delineated and can’t be confused with each other. As the novel progresses smoothly this ceases to be a problem as Stefanescu draws the reader into the plot. For those who like their paranormal romances light and fluffy with happy endings, Shadows of the Past probably isn’t a good choice. While most novels in this genre put the protagonists in danger or at least in crisis time after time, they almost always finish with a happy ever after ending. Stefanescu’s work is darker. The threats and problems are as much psychological as physical, and, as in real life, not every problem is easily solved and not every ending is happy. This does not mean Shadows of the Past is a downer. In the critical story line the good guys win, it’s just that their victory doesn’t mean their lives will always be perfect. I found the concession to realism in the fantasy refreshing. No novel is perfect, although the imperfections are often less in the novel itself than in the mindset of the reader. There are sections of Shadows of the Past that I found a bit repetitive. However, in all those cases, I could see where Stefanescu would have considered the retelling of specific events critical to make sure the reader understood what was happening. There was one minor scientific glitch where DNA, instead of something like carbon dating, was used to determine the age of some bones. In the over-all context of the book, the error was irrelevant. Apparently Shadows of the Past is intended as one book in a series, or at least a book with a sequel, because one rather ominous passage at the end certainly sets the stage for another book. Carmen Stefanescu’s Shadows of the past is a little different from the typical paranormal romance, which is a good thing, and is an enjoyable read.
RAMcCandless More than 1 year ago
Carmen Stefanescu’s “Shadows of the Past” offers adventure, romance, fantasy, magic and suspense. It crosses so many genres that there is nearly something for almost every reader. While I was concerned over some of the characters and the flashbacks, I found that the story as a whole came together well and almost seamlessly. “Shadows of the Past” starts out by following Genevieve, a frail and abused nun from the mid-15th century, on the run for her life through a cursed forest with an evil abbess hunting her, and trying to keep her true love safe. At the same time, juxtaposing the story from the past is Anne, who is trying to rebuild her relationship with Neil on a hiking adventure when the couple inadvertently gets lost. Anne starts to dream about Genevieve, and once led to an oak with a skull and a familiar cross, she and Neil start on a journey of dangerous adventure. Stefanescu’s has a strong writing style that incorporates a clear vision of the world from “Shadows of the Past” and the characters that inhabit it. Her use of mythology and legend lends to the suspense that builds between both the past and the present as the two draw closer. While the characters are relatable, some of the flashbacks within the flashbacks are harder to follow and can be confusing for some readers. There are also some elements of Medieval England which seemed anachronistic. But with an interesting story and generally believable characters, these flaws are easy to overlook. In “Shadows of the Past”, Stefanescu draws together the past and the present into a fast-paced and energetic story. While some of the point of view shifts might be disconcerting for readers, the romance, suspense, and adventure are definitely entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past is a paranormal romance which includes two timelines, one contemporary and one dating back to the 15th century. As we follow the stories of two heroines, Anne in the present and Genevieve in the past, we realize that the two women and their lovers are linked. Eventually Anne begins to believe that she could be the reincarnation of Genevieve, and that some of the other important people in her current life may also have been a part of her past. The two stories proceed in alternating chapters, and the author usually ends each section on a cliffhanger that leaves us eager to discover what will happen next. Reunited with her unfaithful lover, Neil, Anne goes with him on a vacation that they both hope will lead to a reconciliation. But the trip turns dangerous as they become lost in a woodland where they make a gruesome discovery. Meanwhile, the 15th century tale follows Genevieve's life as she tragically loses her family, is taken in by a kindly wisewoman, and eventually finds her way to a nun's vocation. When an evil Abbess takes over as head of the convent and Genevieve falls in love with a kindly priest, Genevieve's life takes an ominous turn. In the present, Anne begins having nightmares and visions as she tries to avoid a malevolence that seems to be pursuing her over the gulf of time. I enjoyed this novel. It was well-paced and both heroines' stories were interesting. I was occasionally bothered by historical inaccuracies and some odd formatting choices (i.e., long and inexplicable use of italics in certain spots), but these flaws did not detract from the story. I also liked the ending, which offered an unexpected and foreboding note. Warmly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu was a terrific read. I loved the historical settings. When she writes about the Medieval Times I really could feel myself there. The plot is awesome, with lots of twists and turns and stories inside stories. It’s a mix of modern and ancient times. Genevive lives in England in 1468 and Anne in 1980. Anne has problems with her partner but she’s now trying to forgive him. When she has a very odd dream while camping, she decides to look for an oak tree. From there, it begins the mix of ancient and modern, magic, feelings and love. The characters are truly alive, the writing style is elegant, dialogues are superb. I liked how all characters can show their true emotions, sometimes they are good, sometimes bad, they love, hate and do horrible things. It’s a highly recommended read.
SusanDayAuthor1 More than 1 year ago
Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu brings together two very different lives of two women. Both are our heroines - one from the 15th Century and one from our modern day . Their lives are intermingled around tragedy, boundless love and the power of good magic.  The story tells the tale of a young nun's difficult life and the contentment she finds living under the protection of a convent. Genevieve decided to join the convent because there were so little choices for young women on their own. Her life there was blissful to begin with but things don't go well when the kind hearted Abbess who has sheltered and nurtured Genevieve  is replaced by a wicked, soulless creature whose jealously and persecution of the young nun is relentless. Things are further antagonised when the beautiful Genevieve falls in love with a man who the evil Abbess has intentions of seducing herself. The man is himself a man of God and this adds to the drama of the tale. Anne is our modern hero. She's a successful business woman who is trying to repair a damaged relationship. She heads her family's business and is intelligent and articulate. Although worlds apart, the lives of the two women are intrinsically woven together in this charming book. Meanwhile, Anne is trying to reconnect with a past lover on a hiking holiday. Unbeknown to her she finds herself in the same mysterious forest that has haunted Genevieve.  Ghosts and spirits haunt her sleep and visions worry her waking hours. They are her 'Shadows of the Past'.  Ms Stefanescu is able to bring her readers two different stories and lace them together to produce an intriguing and interesting tale. I was able to appreciate the both worlds represented here and I easy became entranced with the suspense and mystery evoked in this absorbing tale.  I am giving this five stars and I am looking forward to reading more from Carmen Stefanescu.
CassandraUlrich More than 1 year ago
“Shadows of the Past” by Carmen Stefanescu is a riveting story about souls reborn in a plight to overcome evil. Genevieve, a nun living at an abbey in the 1400s, did the one thing she promised would never happen. She fell in love. What’s worse, the man, Andrew, was a priest. Even more surprising is that he had also fallen in love with her. He promised he would return for her so they could renounce their vows and marry. Fear gripped her heart when he didn’t show up on time, especially after finding the resident gardener dead in a small house on the premises. She had to get away from Sister Clementa, the Abbess who only meant her ill and the cursed forest that brought death to anyone who entered. By itself, this plot spiked my interest, but the next chapter introduced another couple, Anne and Neil, with their own drama in the present time. Anne separated from Neil for two years after she caught him with her best friend, Gillian. In an effort to reconcile, Anne agreed to join Neil on a special trip to the country where they could rekindle their love. Wandering around the side of a mountain, unable to find the hotel where Neil had made reservations, they set up camp for the night. That was when Anne experienced her first dream of a mournful Genevieve. Soon after Anne attempted to help this sad nun from the past, the mean Sister Clementa arrived in spirit form to destroy anyone who dared connect to the man she could never have – in this case, Neil the reincarnate Andrew. With each chapter, the story revealed more secrets which kept me turning each page. I enjoyed that each era had its own chapter, helping me connect how the past events affected the present day relationships and supernatural occurrences. I recommend “Shadows of the Past” to anyone interested in a meaty story with twists and shocking turns. Genevieve’s story does not leave one’s heart untouched. The cast of characters are definitely memorable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not normally a reader of historical fiction, but I am a lover of paranormal tales. This particular story gripped me from the start, and I could not put it down. I devoured it in one sitting and loved every moment. The author manages to paint in very vivid detail Genevieve's world back in the 15th century and her beautiful but tragic life. The intrigue with the nun Genevieve's past, the tension between Anne and Neil, all of it is very intense. The suspense had me sucked in from start to finish. The back and forth between Anne's life and Genevieve's was fascinating and you can't help but wonder why there is such a strong connection between two women from very different time periods. Although I managed to figure it out, the bond between Anne and Genevieve was portrayed in such a powerful and beautiful way. Of the two, I was struck the most by the story of Genevieve. Genevieve's own story is as haunting as her ghost, and stays with you even after the book is over. It an amazing tale of love, mystery, magic, and evil. I especially enjoyed the contrast between the cursed forest and the "wood anemone". Amidst the darkness of Genevieve's life and world, the ending of the book provided both light and hope. I look forward to reading more from this author.