A Shadowed Fate by Marty Ambrose

A Shadowed Fate by Marty Ambrose
Claire Clairmont #2
Publisher: Severn House
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (180 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A shocking revelation from an old friend leads Claire Clairmont on a dangerous quest in this second in a fascinating historical trilogy based on the ‘summer of 1816’ Byron/Shelley group.

1873, Florence. Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the ‘haunted summer of 1816’ Byron/Shelley circle, is reeling from the series of events triggered by the arrival of Michael Rosetti two weeks before, which culminated in a brutal murder and a shocking revelation from her old friend, Edward Trewlany.

Stunned by her betrayal at the hands of those closest to her, Claire determines to travel to the convent at Bagnacavallo near Ravenna to learn the true fate of Allegra, her daughter by Lord Byron. But the valuable Cades sketch given to her by Rosetti is stolen, and Claire soon finds herself shadowed at every turn and in increasing danger as she embarks on her quest. Is the theft linked to Allegra, and can Claire uncover what really happened in Ravenna so many years ago?

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First, anyone wishing to read this book must first read the previous book, Claire’s Last Secret. This novel picks up exactly where the other left off and builds upon events and characters previously introduced.

I truly enjoyed getting to know Claire in the first book, and I relished the opportunity to spend more time with her not only to learn more about her past, but also to follow her quest for the truth about her daughter’s fate. Claire has always had a vibrant personality, and while she is less impulsive than she was in her youth, old age has done little to dim her spirit. I’m also pleased to say I saw a lot of character growth in Claire in this installment. In the first book, Claire seemed like a woman still haunted by her past in many ways. She never got over Byron, and she carries a lot of hurt regarding her relationship with him. Claire and her sister Mary did not part on good terms either. In A Shadowed Fate, Claire begins to find some closure. As Claire travels through Italy, she has the opportunity to reflect on various parts of her past, and in doing so begins to forgive not only others, but herself. These glimpses into the past reveal the events that made Claire the woman she is.

Ms. Ambrose has chosen to tell this story in a slightly different format. Claire’s Last Secret was told with sections that alternated between Claire’s life in 1816 and 1873. This book alternates between Claire’s adventures 1873, old journal entries from Allegra, and sections Claire reads from Byron’s confession. I enjoyed the different perspectives, and I especially enjoyed seeing Byron through the eyes of his daughter in her journal entries.

As with the first novel, A Shadowed Fate is not a story to race through. While the danger surrounding Claire and her mission are very real, the beauty of the scenery and atmosphere is what I’ll remember most when I think about this book.

The conclusion is satisfying if a bit abrupt given the story’s leisurely pace. Some pieces of the mystery surrounding Claire’s daughter have been solved, but Claire’s journey is far from over. Ms. Ambrose has again left me wanting to know more!

I’m delighted that I had the opportunity to continue reading this series. I highly recommend A Shadowed Fate to anyone wanting to lose themselves in the Italian ambience Ms. Ambrose has created.

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