Lady of Asolo. Siobhan Daiko. Fragrant Books. November 2014. 242 pp. paperback and e-book. ISBN #: 9781503109780.
Fern is staying with her Aunt in Asolo, Italy in 1989. Fern’s a painter and loves walking about the town sketching beautiful or historically interesting scenes. But something is deeply amiss, as she keeps hearing a strange yet familiar voice calling, “Lorenza!” Add to that she keeps smelling burnt wood and even occasionally seeing the same which appears and then just as mysteriously disappears. As Fern had just lost her fiancé in terrible accident, this is not helping her to regain composure and peace.
Almost immediately Fern begins to have moments where she is having blacking out spells and during them is living the life of Cecilia, a young lady-in-waiting who serves at the court of Queen Caterina Cornaro in the year 1504 in Venice, Italy. While there Cecilia falls in love with an artist, Zorzo, with whom she begins a passionate affair. Back in 1989, Fern receives help from her Aunt’s friend, Luca, who immediately finds Fern fascinating and then more than engaging but Fern is cool to his hints of more than friendship between them.
Fern begins to slip back and forth in both lives. The timing of these transitions appears too frequently and frenetically which therefore strains credulity. Also we see how Cecilia is avoiding the lusty but repulsive advances of a rich suitor, Ludovico. Living the glorious life of wealth and pleasure can be Cecilia’s destiny if she rejects Zorzo who lives in a world of poverty as a starving but sexy artist.
Their future eventually will collide with that of Fern and Luca. The reader has no problem with this journey, especially enjoying the beautiful descriptions of the places where Fern and Cecilia reside. The author creates a sense of vulnerability in Fern where the reader yearns for her healing from the tragedy in her own past. All in all, In My Lady’s Shadow is a historical romance that comes to a dramatic end with a lot of repetition and going nowhere between the beginning and that perilous finale!