Broken Things Are Worth Fighting For, Too: A Review of Chasing Shadows

“[The] only relationships that really matter are the ones you’re willing to fight for.  If it’s worth the effort, then that’s the test of a worthwhile relationship.” ~from Chasing Shadows

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About Chasing Shadows (from Amazon):

The murder of an ancient king spurs Sarah Matthews to travel back in time, putting her life in jeopardy as she races against the clock to solve a thousand-year-old mystery and pick up the pieces of her star-crossed romance. Her return to Serimone reveals that the kingdom is in upheaval under the new regime, and unable to right the empire alone, Sarah seeks out the help of Will, the town’s blacksmith and secret vigilante. But her hopes of rekindling their fairy tale romance are dashed when a discovery about his past severs their fragile relationship. Confused and alone, Sarah throws herself into her mission at the castle, though the fearsome solitude of the stonework prison causes her to seek out an unlikely ally. Damien Lisandro is a dashing Spaniard who brightens her dull world with his kindness and disarming charm. But as Sarah draws closer to him and to the faceless killer in their midst, she realizes that the severed threads of time and the mystery surrounding Serimone Castle are unraveling rapidly, weaving new tapestries of devastation. When a counterfeit Shadow tragically claims the life of someone Sarah cares for, and with Damien running from a dark past and secrets of his own, she wonders whom she can trust. Knowing the murders are connected, Sarah scrambles to uncover the identity of the impostor on her own. But as more lives are lost in her personal crusade, she questions how far she is willing to go to bring the guilty party to justice. Sarah is forced into harm’s way countless times as she races to solve the puzzle before it is too late and Serimone becomes nothing more than a faded memory of the past. . . And before Sarah herself becomes a permanent fixture in history.

About Ashley Townsend (from Amazon):

Ashley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and her first two books “Rising Shadows” and “Chasing Shadows” became a way for others to join in her fantastical escapades. She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” Follow her quirkiness on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

My Review:

I give Chasing Shadows by Ashley Townsend 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I once heard a reviewer assert that a review only has merit when based off of objective criteria, otherwise it’s “just feels”, as if how a story makes you feel isn’t important.  For one thing, I don’t believe there is any such thing as an objective review, because we all bring a frame of reference into our reading.  For another, I’m not sure there’s anything more important to the reading experience than what a story brings out in its readers – how it makes them feel, how it spurs them to action.

Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows are feel-good books – there’s no way around that.  I’ve been in a rough season lately, and it did my heart good to escape to Serimone for a few hours in the middle of everything.

First of all, Chasing Shadows has this beautiful message: broken things are worth fighting for.  As an incredibly broken person, I know this in my head, but I struggle believing this at my very core. To see this message presented and reiterated so clearly throughout the story at a time when I desperately needed it absolutely wrecked me.

I truly can’t commend Ashley enough for Will’s character.  While very much a hero, Will realizes both his own brokenness and the broken situations around him.  He struggles to fight through those situations, and even learns a little bit how to let someone else fight for him.

“I have always wondered,” he began slowly, drawing the words out, “if my failure was because I lacked conviction to follow through, or perhaps I was afraid of death and wasn’t aware of it.”

Unlike Will, Sarah is a natural at fighting for broken things.  She’s empathic, quick to understand where another person is coming from.  Even when she’s been betrayed, she strives to put herself in their shoes. Beautiful.

And she was faced with her desire, one she felt even now, to justify the desperation of a broken, unloved boy searching for his place in the world.

What I loved best about Sarah in Chasing Shadows, though, were the dilemmas she faced.  I won’t delve into them (you’ll have to read the book yourself), but I wholeheartedly understood her muddled feelings as she weighed her options.  I think this is one of my favorite plot elements in any kind of story: the heroine learns about herself through the choices she faces.  I just … get it.

She refused to be afraid to fall anymore.

Aside from Sarah and Will, there’s a great cast of characters who move around much like characters in a television show, in that many of them often make brief, sporadic appearances.  Townsend also introduces a dashing new character, Damien Lisandro, who has quite the personal history and befriends Sarah when she comes to work at the castle.

Chasing Shadows is full of adventure, mystery, and of course, romance.  I lost count of the happy sighs it pulled out of me.

“But when I found her, I knew that my restless spirit could not be satiated by the fleeting excitement I’d pursued on my voyages.  My goal, I realized, had always been to find something to give my soul rest: She was the treasure I’d sought all along, and I needn’t search any further.”

See what I mean?

So the next time you just need a feel-good read, head over to Amazon and get your copies of Rising Shadows and Chasing Shadows.  Trust me.

The obstacles in love are never easy to overcome, but the commitment to fight makes you stronger together.

Can’t wait for book three!

I received a free copy of Chasing Shadows from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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7 thoughts on “Broken Things Are Worth Fighting For, Too: A Review of Chasing Shadows

  1. Reblogged this on Ashley Townsend and commented:
    Finally! Someone who understands that a story should ALWAYS draw readers in and pull on their emotions. ^_^ Loved reading Lydia’s reaction to and love for these characters. Thanks, Lydia, for understanding that Serimone is a place to fall into and find yourself in.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Unlovable: A Poem | Lydia Thomas, Author

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