So. Here goes. I could not read past Ch. 3 of Fifty Shades of Gray and I was forever turned off to PDoug’s writing by Credence. Complicated romances are wonderful. But they should be complicated and many faceted because of the world-building and unforgettable characters who aren’t assholes just because it suits the enemies to lovers trope the author wants to use. Making things dark and complicated because of plot elements deliberately crafted for their shock factor is not ok. Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale is one of the reasons I have no patience for plot elements I feel are used to garner sales for their sheer shock factor.
It is an incomparable dark medieval romance with a hero who is an assassin. He has subsisted in a lonely, scourged sphere his entire life. And then one woman defies his capture, and he becomes her captive … bound by her deep understanding and acceptance of the wounds on his soul. Allegreto and Elena’s story is not an easy read, but it is gut-wrenchingly beautiful.