Synopsis from Goodreads: Shadowvale isn’t typical small town America. The sun never shines, the gates decide who enters, magic abounds, and every resident bears some kind of curse.
No one knows this as well as raven shifter Deacon Evermore, who, like everyone in his family, has a curse. While his position as Shadowvale’s peacekeeper lets him use that curse for good, he’d rather live anywhere else. He stays for his family, but doubts he can last much longer.
Fledgling witch Emeranth Greer is determined to escape her past and make a fresh start in Shadowvale with the aunt she’s never met. Her aunt and the town prove to be far better than she imagined. There’s no way Em is leaving this magical place. Especially when staying means more time with the handsome Deacon.
But when Em’s troubled past catches up with her and nearly destroys the romance budding between her and Deacon, her instinct is to run again. Except there’s magic in the mix now and the town won’t let her leave. Only Deacon can save her, but can a cursed man clear her name…or will her history destroy them both?
I picked this book up as part of a 2-for-1 sale via Audible and listened to the audiobook. This was what I’d categorize as a summer beach read for me. It was a little too “cozy” and predictable for my tastes but not a bad read if that’s what you’re after. (And many folks have read and loved this and other books by this author, so if you enjoy this genre, then you’ll probably enjoy this one.)
I liked the concept of the town of Shadowvale, hidden away from outsiders by magic unless you were someone who needed to find refuge there. I always appreciate the addition of a town or building as a sentient character in a book with magic. The characters were as I would have expected. Emeranth, the main character, is cute and spunky, down on her luck but determined to have a better life for herself. Deacon, the love interest, is the town’s peacekeeper and also a raven shapeshifter. Handsome and devoted to his family, he and Em hit it off despite their best efforts not to fall into a relationship with each other.
This is the first book in a series set in Shadowvale so some of the plot revolves around explaining how the town came to be, and descriptions of the different inhabitants in town, in order to set the stage for some of the back story.
An enjoyable, easygoing read. Nothing spectacular or “best book I’ve ever read here”, but as I categorized it above, it’d be a nice book for an escapist vacation read if you enjoy this genre.
I am opting to replace Tidelands with this title on my 20 Books of Summer List, and it is book 16/20 for that reading challenge.