Author: Isobel Starling
Length: 161 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Contemporary Romance, Comedy
At a Glance: I must say that there were times when the story leapt forward a bit too fast for me; however, Illuminate the Shadows kept me enthralled.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: After the most amazing week of Declan Ramsay’s life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan’s life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss’s son Sam.
However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken.
Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and so discovering that his employee Declan Ramsay- the man he installed to run his luxury property rental empire- is in a relationship with Sam, does not go down well.
The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam’s love.
Review: I fell in love with Declan and Sam in the first book in this series, and this second novel did not change that feeling. Picking up directly after Oliver and Annabelle’s wedding, Sam disappears, leaving behind a worried and eventually emotionally wrecked Declan. After all, the man had just discovered that the lack of interest he had in any long term relationship with a woman was due to the fact that he was bisexual and in love with the male anatomy—specifically Sam’s. Having learned that Sam was not all he appeared to be and–in fact, was a spy working for his father, Sir James–Declan feared that the homophobic man would keep he and Sam apart indefinitely. However, just as Declan was nearing the end of his rope, Sam reappears and Dec demands answers. Just what is Sam’s role in his father business, and what will it take for Declan to remain a part of Sam’s life? Before long, Declan will find out just how ruthless Sir James can be, and his life will be changed forever. Now all he needs to be sure of is that Sam will be there to share it with him, regardless of the danger.
Illuminate the Shadows by Isobel Starling was action packed and emotionally charged. Declan still struggles to figure out how he can fit into Sam’s world of espionage and intrigue, being a rather simple man with little to offer someone as trained and deadly as Sam. Add to that the fact that Sam’s father is both homophobic and ruthless, and you can see how Declan must fight tooth and nail to make it in Sam’s world. But he loves his man and is determined to stay the course through a grim and brutal “interview” at the hands of Sir James and his team, as well as during combat and fight training that will keep him apart from Sam for six weeks—all this while the two are trying to make their way in a new relationship where one of the partners had never been with a man before now.
I must say that there were times when the story leapt forward a bit too fast for me. Some plot points were simply mentioned as about to happen and then in the next page had been done and dusted without any reference to what had occurred—the most notable was Declan’s six week training course, which basically was announced and happened all in a single page of text. Given how the author had elaborated on the way Declan coped, or failed to, during Sam’s three-month hiatus, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get at least a bit of that from Sam’s point of view.
However, the story moved swiftly and kept me enthralled. I loved the little twist during Declan’s interrogation and how we later found out just why he didn’t succumb to Sir James’ less than savory methods for breaking him down. But the real winner here was the developing relationship between our two men and how unsure they both were that they deserved each other. There were tender moments juxtaposed with fierce sex scenes that allowed the reader to watch their affections grow and take deep root.
All in all, Illuminate the Shadows affirmed the deepening love Declan and Sam were experiencing for each other, while leaving some niggling tidbits of story unfinished, making this reviewer eager for the third installment, Return To Zero.
You can buy Illuminate the Shadows here: