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Reasons to Read: Saving Shadow by Laura Beers

Monday, April 2, 2018
The last few years have been lucky for me in finding some great books totally by happenstance. I found The Glamourist Histories through a free Audible download when I did the trial. The feeling I had learning there was an entire series is difficult to describe. I immediately tracked them all down and read nonstop for days. Then I noticed The Maggie Hope Mysteries by Susan Elia Macneal in the gift shop of the International Spy Museum. I snapped a picture of the cover and, long story short, my calendar currently has the scheduled release dates for new books in the series so I can suggest them to my local library. Everyone should have the opportunity to read them.

Now imagine my excitement when author Laura Beers shared the debut of her first book, Saving Shadow, in a Facebook group for LDS moms. It was basically love at first sight with a historical setting, an LDS author, and a unique story with a vivid female lead. I jumped on the chance to read and review the book.

**This post contains NO affiliate links. All writing and opinions are mine and exist only because I want to share cool stuff with you.**

A little summary for you: Lady Elizabeth Beckett is daughter of a duke and a spy for the British government. In her most recent assignment, Lady Elizabeth is partnered with Lord Sinclair, the now heir to a marquess after the murder of his older brother, to take down a human trafficking scheme run by one of the highest members of European society. Up until now, Lady Elizabeth's position, identity, and relationships have been secure thanks to her code name, Shadow. As the investigation moves forward, Lady Elizabeth and Lord Sinclair piece the clues together and uncover secrets, getting closer to the truth and possibly each other.

A quick, yet compelling read

Beers uses simple, straightforward writing to move things along in the book. For avid readers this might be cause to assume the book is sub par, but honestly the writing works to your advantage because you probably won't want to put the book down. I finished the book in a couple of evening sessions and was surprised at how quickly I got through it. I was even more surprised at how the story pulled me in. While the story seemed almost predictable, Beers uses different voices and realistic explanations to make things worth hanging on until the end.

The first book in The Beckett Files

The quickness of the read may be disappointing. Thankfully there are two more books in the series so far. As you can tell I am a series loyalist (don't get me started on Harry Potter or The Circle of Magic). And I am anxious to get into the next two books. Next in the series, A Peculiar Courtship, is already available, and To Love A Spy is on the horizon.

Clean writing

I freely admit that as a Mormon I can be very sensitive to sex, drugs, and rock and roll in my media consumption, especially when it's unexpected and unnecessary. Sure, I've read the majority of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, but I knew what was coming. Don't ask me to turn on HBO though... Anyways, what I truly appreciate about Saving Shadow is its directness without the sleaze. There is obvious romance in the story, and even the human trafficking lends a dark tone to the book, but there is still a level of modesty to the storytelling that I was happy to see. Beers should be proud of the way she writes true feelings and invites the reader to experience them without feeling unnecessarily embarrassed. However, if you're into that kind of storytelling this book isn't as deep as you want.

A balanced story

Another great job done by Beers is how she gives equal attention to the different themes in story. The book wasn't overly mushy with romance, too self-important about women's roles and rights, or too smart with the spying. The historical setting of the story is only shown in the classic 19th century etiquette that creates a familiar, if not overdone, framework. Still, there was just enough energy in each area of the book that moved the story forward at a good pace.

Overall, the book introduces a story that is certainly different and provides a look into a world we don't get a chance to read about very often. I recommend Saving Shadow for readers who enjoy historical fiction and intrigue with a hint of drama. Don't be caught of guard by the directness of the story. The clear plot, changing perspectives, and developing relationships are advantages to the beginning of a series.
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