In the Shadow of the Past (Shadow Series Book 1) – J.E. Leak

4.5⭐️ – To end the year, I’m catching up on books I missed in 2021. In the Shadow of the Past came out last summer. It’s set for the most part in New York in 1943. Jenny Ryan is a columnist for her uncle’s daily newspaper. She’s aspiring to more exciting journalism and an anonymous tip gives her the opportunity she dreamt of. If only she could prove that Marcus Forrester is a Nazi sympathizer and her own father’s killer. In the course of her inquiry, Jenny gets close to Kathryn Hammond, a sultry singer and Forrester’s mistress. Little does Jenny know that the woman she’s about to fall for is an OSS spy.

I’m so impressed by debut novels like this one, in which the writing feels so mature. There’s room for growth but there’s also a lot to love already. I loved almost everything, from the cover to the atmosphere – very film noir – to the characters. There were a couple of inconsistencies, details that were seen as revelations even though I thought they were already known, but nothing that bothered me too much and nothing that stopped me from enjoying the story to the max. Both Jenny and Kat are complex characters, each with a past, secrets, guilt they have to learn to live with. Jenny feels a lot younger than Kat even though the age gap is only a few years, but the life experience makes all the difference.

The romance between Jenny and Kat is a very very slow burn but I believe it will be worth the wait when the sparks finally turn into fire. The series will include three more books, and there’s time for a lot to happen. One of the things I enjoyed most is the flirting, and it gave me all the romance I needed with the promise of more. If everything goes as planned (Covid reminded us that’s not an easy promise to keep), we shouldn’t have to wait too long for the next book, In the Shadow of Love. Fingers crossed for early 2022.


In the Shadow of the Past @ Smashwords / IndieBound / / amazon

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