Welcome to Literary R&R's stop in Joe Niehaus' and Mary Sikora's Shadow in the Reflection virtual book blog tour sponsored by Pump Up Your Book. For this tour, Literary R&R is participating by reviewing Shadow in the Reflection. We hope you enjoy!
ISBN #: 978-1475925784
Page Count: 303
Copyright: May 22, 2012
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
(Taken from the back cover)
Can destiny be fulfilled in just one lifetime? Dr. Gregory Ambrose thinks so. Through past-life regression therapy with a young woman named Anne, he finds himself carried over the centuries to not only a different time but a different reality. Anne's memories act like tendrils, drawing Ambrose into this most savage time with her.
Frustrated and confused Dr. Ambrose reaches out to a colleague for help. During their conversations, he learns that one of this doctor's past-life regression patients believes that he was some kind of Viking in another time - not unlike the Vikings in Anne's memories.
The coincidence is too much, and Ambrose's imagination and ambition tempt him down a dangerous path. Determined to know the truth and understand the connection, he begins to push the limits of his ethics.
What evolves is a story from another time, when wizards and warriors battle for power. The fate of two lands - one fighting for unity, the other for safety - hangs in the balance as two druids play out their own endgame strategies. At the same time, two hearts seek their destiny with true love. Fate lends a hand as all meet in a final battle.
Is it truly the end or just the beginning?
Shadow in the Reflection implies a previous life that one can glimpse a shadow of if looking at their reflection closely enough. I understand this, and the reason why the cover art is done like it is, but I wish a reference to the title would've been made in the book somewhere to tie them together. As it stands, the title seems somewhat separate from the story.
Yes, the prologue is titled 'Shadow in the Reflection,' but it seems as an inappropriate title somehow. I still think the title could've been tied in better with the story.
A psychologist has had success with hypnotizing a patient and getting her to lose those last 20 pounds she wanted to lose. Because of this success, she agrees to let him hypnotize her into seeing if she's had past lives. Again, they have success and the patient is excited to encounter her previous self. So much so that she gets a little irritated when it's time to come back to the present.
The further the doctor regresses her, though, the more concerned he gets. Not knowing if it's ethical to continue the sessions, he requests the advise of his friend and colleague. As it so happens, his colleague also has a patient who is bearing witness to his past life during hypnosis ... and it seems that his past life may be entwined with the female patient's past life. This gives the two doctors the idea to write down the sessions and, perhaps, bring the two patients together.
What evolves is a story of Vikings, battles, druids, magic, treachery, and honor.
Gregory Ambrose - A psychologist interested in the past life of one of his patients. He also believes his past life is coming to life inside him as Gregor, the Druid.
Anne Prather - Dr. Ambrose's patient who is allowing herself to be hypnotized to a past life. She was a Briton princess by the name of Anya who was committed to becoming Prince Julian's wife.
Tom Ivy - Greg's friend and colleague who also has a patient that is regressing to a past life. He and Greg decide to partner together and write down their patients' stories.
Hap Roth - Dr. Ivy's patient who is allowing himself to be hypnotized to a past life. He was a great Viking warrior by the name of Hrothgar who became king before he was ready.
On a negative note, there are quite a few editing issues that need to be taken care of (not spellcheck errors, editing errors). Aside from that, I rather enjoyed this story-within-a-story. I actually finished reading this book in September and wrote this post then. I began this book while at lunch one day because I didn't have anything else with me to read. Once I started, I didn't want to stop until I had finished.
I was a little unsure of the depth of Hrothgar's and Anya's love and loyalty to each other. I wasn't sure until she was returned to Julian and Anya's relationship with Hrothgar was brought out into the open. I would've enjoyed seeing Anya and Hrothgar's relationship fleshed out a little more during their time together, but the story mainly focused on the upcoming battles and the fight for unity ... which I understand, but having the balance of a little more romance would've made the book that much better.
As it stands, Shadow in the Reflection is an engagingly unique story that held me captive until the end. I think it would you, too.
*A physical copy of the book was provided by one of the authors in exchange for an honest review for the purposes of this tour.