In The Shadow of Love by J.E. Leak: A Lesbian Historical Novel (Shadow Series Book 2)
“In The Shadow of Love” by J.E. Leak is a lesbian historical romance and espionage novel set in the 1940’s era featuring two wonderfully strong and complex characters: Katryn and Jenny, just as different as the night is from the day or the sun from the moon, but two things seem to unite them: their love for their country and their attraction for each other and now, espionage. It’s following from where we left in the first book: “In The Shadow of the Past”.
“In The Shadow of Love” is Shadow Series Book no.2
I loved the cover and Katryn’s smile.
The title suggests Katryn is fighting with her demons to be ready for love.
Of course, the reader expects that we will find out everything in the second part of the story, but we don’t really.
I couldn’t wait to read this book, because I was so anxious to find out about Katryn’s and Jenny’s new adventures.
The book starts with a huge surprise on Jenny’s part and Katryn is stunned, but still she knows that she needs to protect Jenny from her own demons and from danger, she still feels responsible for her.
On the other side, Jenny doesn’t want Katryn to see her as a child and always comfort her, but only Katryn seems to be able to get her out of trouble.
Jenny knows she wants Katryn and she still can’t have her and she is really frustrated about that, because she can’t understand her reluctance, sensing that Katryn is feeling the same way as she does, she can’t see why Katryn denies their attraction.
Until one day, she witnesses Katryn’s PTSD and panic attack and while Smitty doesn’t let her near Katryn, he ends up telling her what actually had happened to Katryn.
The story from Katryn’s past: she was an oversee agent in France when she got caught by the Nazi’s who forced the truth out of her or at least tried, but she never gave them anything, so they tried other methods to get it from her, a horrible method to choose which of the soldiers sent to rescue her will die, if she didn’t choose they would kill two. She didn’t choose. And Smitty was one of the soldiers who escaped. And he will owe Katryn a huge deal until the end of their lives.
So, now back in the US she wanted to make up for their deaths, by helping the OSS getting to Marcus Forrester and also make light in the Ryan case, as Jenny’s father and grandfather seem to have been involved in secret Nazi biologic bomb plans. The OSS isn’t finished with that.
The espionage plot goes deeper and the reader cannot anticipate the surprises popping up along the way.
Jenny gets along with Smitty much better than they did in the first book, but now also Jenny’s friendship with Bernie falls apart.
Katryn’s relationship with Forrester deepens and she has some difficult times, but she knew they were coming.
I could feel the angst on Katryn’s part.
As much as Katryn struggles she can’t avoid her feelings for Jenny anymore, despite knowing she will ruin Jenny’s life with Forrester and her demons, but their attraction is too strong.
Somehow, Forrester guesses Jenny is Katryn’s lover and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it (Jenny was not a man, and their agreement stood).
The intimate scenes between Katryn and Jenny are so beautifully written, they were kept until book no.2 to increase the reader’s desire and happiness for the two main characters. I was so happy for them. They deserved love, each other’s love.
There is much more tension now, as they are intimately involved, physically and emotionally, caring so much for each other’s safety, especially after Katryn’s life was threatened.
We get a glimpse of the character’s surroundings, we are introduced to another club than “The Grotto” and to Forrester’s mansion and to the beautiful apartment Jenny and Katryn have rendez-vous. I loved those descriptions.
I truly love the main characters.
Katryn is my favorite character, from mobster mistress singer to OSS secret agent, her past as oversee agent getting caught by the Nazi’s who made her do horrible choices, and coming back home with PTSD and panic attacks and how she fights all her demons in the name of love, her care for Jenny, not wanting to hurt her by loving her, her love for her country, her devotion to go back oversee to deliver her guilt what it wanted. She is flawed, but intrinsically mesmerizing after opening herself to Jenny. She deserves to love and be loved.
I like Jenny’s effervescence, innocence, her challenging ways and now, with her new job, the love for her country and her desire to do good, by Katryn’s side.
But, at the end of the book, we see Jenny going through some changes she can’t define.
And Katryn has a hint she tells Smitty (Jenny’s blood test).
There’s a new mystery and we are left to wait for book no.3: In the Shadow of Truth: A Lesbian Historical Novel (Shadow Series Book 3), to find out about Jenny’s change, her and Katryn’s love affair and what the future brings.
I totally recommend the Shadow Series as one of the most wonderful historical lesbian romances I have ever read.