December 18, 2012

Reviews (I)

December 4, 2012 - by Oana Matei (

Book Review: "Shadows of the Past" by Carmen Ştefănescu 

I'm so excited to tell you today is the release day of Shadows of the Past, a gripping paranormal/ romance novel written by Romanian writer Carmen Ştefănescu and published by Wild Child Publishing. As I myself am Romanian (yes, I come from Dracula's country), you can imagine just how proud I am to present on my blog a Romanian author who writes in English (and does it so well) and review her debut novel. So, I'll leave you with the Shadows of the Past synopsis, my review and the promise that you will read more about Carmen and her books on All Fantasy Worlds.


When Anne and Neil leave on a one-week holiday hoping to reconcile after a two-year separation, little do they know that destiny has other plans for them. Their discovery of human bones and a bejeweled cross in the hollow of a tree open the door to the supernatural realm and the anguished life of Genevieve, a nun from medieval England.

Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve her eternal rest?

The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.

You can purchase the book on the Wild Child Publishing website. It will also be released on Amazon and Barnes & Noble next week, so be sure to check back for the links.


Goodreads                    Amazon                    Barnes & Noble

Visit the author's blog:


Shadows of the Past is a truly compelling story about loss and grief, mysteries that go back to Medieval Times and dark powers that push people to commit unspeakable crimes. A cursed forest, demons, witchcraft, strange rituals and a forbidden love… all these elements come together to build a suspenseful, beautifully written paranormal/ romance novel that will keep you glued to the pages. The universe Carmen Ştefănescu has managed to create is full of magic and superstitions, while her characters are capable of love, hatred, sin, murder and repentance.

The story follows the destinies of two women who live in two different times: Genevieve is a poor girl who lives with her family in a small village in England, in 1468, and Anne is a successful businesswoman who, in the summer of 1990, decides to go on a mountain trip with the man who betrayed her two years prior and now she’s ready to forgive. Camping near a strangely silent forest, Anne dreams of a nun, a lost, tormented soul that leads her to an oak tree deep in the forest, by a stream. Once she wakes up, she convinces Neil they have to find the oak tree and discover why the ghost wanted her to go there… maybe the young woman suffered a violent death and she couldn’t find her peace. When they find a human skull and a crucifix in the hollow of the oak, they embark in an adventure that might cost their lives, for there’s an evil spirit that lurks in the forest and hunts the ruins of the abbey nearby.

There are so many things I loved about this novel that I don’t even know where to start. First, I must say that Genevieve’s heart-breaking story was my favorite part. Carmen Ştefănescu draws a beautiful, realistic picture of Medieval England, when people’s superstitions led to the persecution of wise healers who were considered witches. The legend of the cursed forest is absolutely fascinating, with its red-eyed ghost dogs, the stream with clear, cold water that turns into tar at night and the unsettling stillness of the trees… The cursed forest took everything from Genevieve… will it also hurt Anne? And what exactly is the connection between the two? Even though by the end of the book I kind of guessed what the mysterious bond was about, the author still did a great job at building the suspense and leading to a resolution that the readers will be grateful for. After all, we all want happy endings, and Carmen Ştefănescu delivers hers in a unique, surprising way.

I also loved the fact that I could relate to the characters and Genevieve’s tragic destiny really made me sad, which is a great thing! It’s always a plus when the author manages to make the reader cry and laugh at the same time with the characters. This proves insight and great writing talent. While Genevieve is a frail young woman who cannot achieve her happiness because of the society she lives in, Anne is a strong, determined woman who always takes matters into her own hands.

Shadows of the Past is a real page-turner and a light romance story that, once again, reminded me love is more powerful than any kind of evil and if two people are meant to be together, then they will find each other even in another time or space. There were moments when I couldn’t read fast enough – that’s how much I enjoyed this novel.

1 comment:

  1. I read and loved this book. I was so impressed with the quality of writing and storytelling. One of my favorite this year reads.Paulette


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