Whispers on Shadow Bay by Raquel Byrnes

Whispers on Shadow Bay by Raquel Byrnes
Publisher: Pelican Books
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Ejected from her privileged life, Rosetta comes to Noble Island with a broken heart and shaken faith. She is enticed by hope in the arms of the dark and brooding Simon Hale, but people keep dying at Shadow Bay Hall, and Rosetta hears something in the walls.

Simon Hale finds the reclusive Rosetta both beautiful and intriguing, but when she seeks out the truth behind Shadow Bay Hall’s unexplained happenings, he is torn between hope for the future and his need to protect a dangerous secret.

With dark forces determined to keep truth at bay, Rosetta and Simon fight to uncover lies that imprison the island with fear. His wife’ death, tangled memories, a Romany feud; Rosetta must decide if she is strong enough to discover what’s behind The Whispers on Shadow Bay.

My first encounter with gothic novels happened in my early teens. Many years have passed since then, and I still enjoy this genre. I like all those dark and gloomy mansions full of secrets and lies; tortured heroes who either had a crazy or unfaithful first wife; sweet and innocent heroines who eventually save the day; weird relationships; creepy housekeepers,or suspense and thrills. And Whisper on Shadow Bay has enough of these elements to be a solid read.

Yes, just solid. The novel started strong. Young woman came to the island. She is faced with everything a Gothic novel needs: a lot of fog, rain, thunder storms, a grand and mysterious house, good looking owner’s son, and an unfriendly housekeeper. In the first quarter of the story the atmosphere was really spooky, and I was on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, second and third quarters were very slow, because the author spent more time on building this atmosphere of mystery instead of developing the characters and developing the story. However, in the last quarter, Ms. Byrnes picked up the pace and the book became interesting again.

Besides the previously mentioned downsides of the story, there are some more errors that could have easily been avoided by an editor’s intervention. For example, in one scene the hero and heroine are searching through the woods during the thunder storm, but the author mentioned that the heroine saw the hero in the moonlight, not just once, but twice during the search. Furthermore the author mentioned that one of the protagonists had picked strawberries from the garden. That would not be problem if the strawberry season was in full swing. But this particular part of the story was happening in September. Furthermore, and not going into too much detail, there is a mix up regarding identical and fraternal twins. These kinds of errors distracted me too much to fully enjoy the story.

Whispers on Shadow Bay has a wonderful beginning. The author magnificently built the atmosphere in the few first chapters. Descriptions of the island are also beautiful and magical. All in all, the story had a lot of potential; with getting some facts straight, putting the more emphasis on characters and story development, the story would have been great.  I really loved the author’s voice, though, and will be looking for new releases from her in the future. She shows great potential.

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