A Shining in the Shadows - by Beverley Lee
Starting a Beverley Lee book is a momentous thing – you know before you enter her world that it’s going to be fully immersive. Beverley writes with a solid eye on character – they drive everything and take center stage. A shining in the shadows (ASITS), the second book in the Gabriel Davenport series continues this trademark, and Beverley layers trait upon trait, introspective thought upon thought onto her characters, to the point where we know them so well, we cannot do anything but feel for them in their individual plights.
This is my fifth outing with Beverley and her meticulously edited books, having read her shorts in Daughters of Darkness, and her novels The ruin of delicate things, The house of little bones, and The Making of Gabriel Davenport – the first part of the series. Each book has followed certain Lee trademark flourishes – ASITS is comparable to the making of Gabriel davenport in that it presents a slow build tension, is composed of short chapters with increasingly barbed hook endings, focuses on character motivation, internal thought and replays scenes from different characters perspectives. As such, it plays well to the reader, especially those that have read the first in the series and liked exactly those characteristics – I include myself in that category.
I’ve noticed in a lot of the vampire stories that I’ve read (Anne rice’s vampire chronicles, Nicole Eigener’s Beguiled by night, Briana Morgan’s Mouth full of ashes) that there’s a trend in making the vampires Gay (or Bi). It fits well, certainly – vampires (to begin with) are creatures not fully in control of their abilities and passions, driven by the need to take what society regards as forbidden (blood from others)– the guilt of that need, that uncontrollable desire, finally succumbing to what is their nature – I get it – I can see that journey to self-acceptance and acknowledgment reflected in a lot of LGBTQ people’s own experiences, simply wanting to exist as they are whilst the damn stubborn world tries to chew them up, and for me, that is then understandable that so many vampires have no sexual preference – are Bi or Gay or whatever they want to be, because when you have to hide from the world because the world stubbornly won’t accept you, then the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself at least, and this book tracks that journey with two of the main characters.
Effectively, this then is a coming-of-age story. Fight me over this, but that’s how I see it, and I think that element is upfront the “actual” story here. Yes, there is the ongoing story of the vampire world, Gabriel’s demon-possessed mother and a witch buried alive in the walls of an unknown location, and yes, the characters from the first book reappear here and move everything along to a showdown, but as is obvious from what I said above, the final showdown harks back to the lessons of all young forbidden love stories the world over – stay strong to one another, hold firm, and the world and all it throws at you will have no effect.
That Beverley frames that story, surrounded in her lush prose and beguiling inner thought and sumptuous poetic description, with compassion and an astute understanding of pacing and tension, elevates this to an un-putdownable book. You can see why the series has been lauded as much as it has, it’s spellbinding (so far)
I enjoyed this Beverley, despite not being a vampire guy, as I have previously said, this remained enthralling, and once again, the editing was divine.
Just what you’d expect from a Beverley Lee book.
5 out of 5 ⭐’s and my first review of the new year. Great start to 2022.
You can buy "A Shining in the Shadows" by clicking on the Amazon store appropriate to you.
You can find Beverley on Twitter, HERE.
You can find Beverley on Instagram, HERE.
You can find Beverley on Facebook, HERE.
You can find Beverley on TikTok, HERE.