7 December 2014

In My Lady's Shadow by Siobhan Daiko

Writing a time-slip novel allows authors to create the ultimate in flashbacks. As Fern tries to keep hold of her sanity, she's snatched back to 16th century Italy where she virtually lives the perilous life of Cecilia. Is it all a figment of her traumatised mind, or is she really bearing witness to the life and possible death of a young woman?

Cecilia demands, and gets, passion. The scenes between her and artist Zorzo contain lust and love – in their most urgent and raw forms. In contrast, I found Fern's modern-day encounters just a little cold, leaving me frustrated. There was also an abruptness to Fern's world, the dialogue in particular seemed almost brusque at times and this created one or two bumpy scenes. 

There was opulence to Cecilia's life and this created a wonderful conflict – financial security or true love? Could she have both? And what of Fern's traumatic past – could she have a future – any future? Nothing was assured and that left me with a dilemma. As the book headed towards its dual conclusion, I delayed the revelation. The downside to a good book is that is has to end.

The author has very cleverly mixed fact with fiction – she reveals in the book's notes where some of the inspiration was found and that adds a fascinating twist to this tale. As much as I adore fiction, I like it to be balanced with a nugget or two of fact. As I googled the facts – not to check them but because I was interested – I was drawn into another world, one of art and architecture. To appreciate why I spent so much time looking at Giorgione’s The Tempest, you need to read the book!

Siobhan Daiko writes of an Italy she clearly adores and I particularly enjoyed the scenes set in Venice. Comparing today's city with a place Cecilia would have known, puts the familiar tourist attractions in to historical context, and that's another tick in the box for time-slip themed novels.

The book is available from Amazon:  Lady of Asolo