The Shadows Series Marni Mann
The Shadows Series Marni Mann
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book Reviews
I love erotic romance – when its well written. Sadly after the success of Fifty Shades of Grey ( which I really enjoyed ) there’s been an explosion of what seems like poorly written, quickly dashed off, “erotic” novels from writers hoping to cash in on the genre’s popularity. It takes more than a few sex scenes pulled together with a thin plot to make a successful and interesting novel though. Unfortunately wading through the multitudes of dross available its possible to miss gems like this one. That’s a real shame for keen readers of the genre.
The Shadows Series is a well written, two part novel. It has some sensual, spicy, very erotic sex and love scenes, but these are melded together and contained within a fascinating plot, involving two people with damaged childhoods, a high class brothel and its clients, danger and murders, and it’s set around artists and the art world.
Charlie seeks escape from her damaged past, both physical and emotional. We get to see her inner musings, and understand why she reacts as she does, why she tries to blot everything out with meaningless sex. It takes her into a world of danger though, where among the surface beauty and satisfaction danger lurks..life threatening danger. Charlie is on a voyage of discovery, and she can’t get the future she needs and deserves until she accepts, forgives herself and heals the damage from her past.
She’s very artistic and takes part time classes alongside her job as a high class prostitute at the Mansion. At school she meets an encouraging Professor who tutors her class. He’s very encouraging, sees her talent and helps shape her career. She also meets the enigmatic and attractive Cameron, a fellow student, though already a successful artist. He’s another person trying to escape from his past, but though he has succeeded well with his art he’s still fighting his memories. He and Charlie work together on art projects set by the Professor, and he becomes a huge encouraging focus in her life, getting her to work in his studio alongside him. She thinks there’s mutual attraction after a while, wants him sexually, but won’t while she’s working at the Mansion. She has a really good, long time friend Dallas, and feels guilty for sleeping with him while working there, she won’t make that mistake again.
So Charlie, what a sad life she’s had, and how hard she tries to escape. I can see why she was so taken with the idea of the Mansion, all that pampering, the constant reiteration that they would be “family” to her, the way they seemed to care about all of her life, not just while she was working and of course the money. More than she could ever earn elsewhere, gave her security and freedom doing something she would be doing anyway. Everything has a price though and when she wants to leave….well it’s not so easy. Dallas, he was her lover and friend, he wanted more from her than just sex but accepted that she didn’t feel that way for him and he was a real friend to her, always there when she needed him, and helped her even when it caused him pain. Then Cameron – well, he’s just sex on legs…but also very closed emotionally. Neither he or Dallas know of Charlie’s other work until she wants to leave it and danger hits….
Part two picks up about six months later. I’m glad that interim part of the mansion closing, and the events that surrounded it wasn’t gone into in detail. It would have taken the focus off the main plot IMO and it works better this way. The mansion has been closed down, but Charlie is still worried about danger, if someone who was a client recognises her, if someone drops her name in the wrong place…she’s still fearful, but now ensconced in a relationship with Cameron and working hard on it. Its not without trials though – he’s trying to help her escape from her past, he knows about the mansion now, and the way it all links up with her attitude to sex, and he’s trying to get her past that. He has his own shadows to overcome though. Just when it looks brighter for them, when they are making progress with each other and their relationship, when her art is finally taking off and setting up to be a good career, it all goes wrong. Shadows from the past come back to haunt them both, and its gets really, really emotive, desperately sad. It made me very tearful – though maybe oddly that’s what makes a book such a success for me. I need the downs to be really deep and dark, for the characters to really hit bottom and feel devastated – then when it comes right I feel so happy for them. If its all happy, happy, one paced sweetness with no lows – for me that’s just dull.
So, a sensual riveting read, lots of hot, well written, sexy, erotic scenes, lots of highs and deep, dark lows, danger and sadness, and edge of seat wondering what on earth can happen next, wrapped up in a novel with a good solid plot, makes for a book that was perfect for me. One I’ll happily re read. A massive 538 pages for just £3.49.
Stars: five – fabulous solid read.
ARC supplied by Book Enthusiast Promotions