Review: Living In Shadow, by Jackie Ashenden


Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult Erotic Romance, Contemporary.

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages: 189


Finding his way out of the darkness could be the biggest fight of his life.

Living In…, Book 1

Law professor Eleanor May is fine with taking over a class for a colleague on sabbatical. She’s not so fine with the hot student who’s always seated front and center. Once upon a time she was that student…and the scars remain eight years after it ended.

Yet this guy seems different from the others. Despite the alarm bells in her head warning her about history repeating itself, she is drawn toward the forbidden once again—even though this time it could consume her.

Lucien North’s past is darker than the ink on his skin, a reminder of a time when survival was a fight to the death. Seducing his beautiful professor wasn’t supposed to be part of his plan to put it behind him, but there’s something about Eleanor that’s gotten hold of him and won’t let go.

Together they light up the night, but will their powerful desire lead them to love—or drag them both to the brink of disaster?

Warning: Contains a younger man so hot he might scorch your fingertips, and forbidden lust so tempting, there’s no point in trying to resist. Check your inhibitions at the door—it’s WTFery 101 and class is in session.



I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review. 

Living In Shadow is the first book in the Living In… series.

It’s not often that you find a book about a “forbidden” romance between a professor and a student when the professor is not the man, but the woman. I was attracted to this book when I realized that the author decided to reverse some things regarding the “usual” age gap used in romance books. I was intrigued and the blurb, quite amazing in my opinion, left me with high expectations. I enjoyed this book, but what I would have wanted to see isn’t in the book so I can’t help but being a little bit disappointed.

You see, I find the background given to Lucien pretty amazing. I can’t tell you more or else it’d ruin a good part of the book if you decide to read it, but it’s not something common and I believe it’s well-done even though I think the author could have dug deeper in his psyche. I think his past should have been a good reason to make him darker than he really is. In fact, the story itself could have been darker and grittier.

I like much more Lucien than Eleanor. She’s a rather strong character in a way, but I wasn’t that interested in her. Also, I completely understand her back and forth behavior with Luc, but because I didn’t care much about her I was a bit bored for a good part of the book. I think I would have been more onboard if only I felt closer to her and if her emotions would have been even more fleshed out to better show some of her dark thoughts. In a way, I think that the author takes some easy shortcuts when it comes to Eleanor to introduce the slight “BDSM” trope to the story to make it sexy for the reader. Yet, don’t get me wrong, it’s rather well-done. I’m just sad that the author doesn’t go deeper with these characters.

The plot itself is pretty much straightforward without real conflicts. I would have welcomed more conflicts and maybe more issues regarding Luc earlier than the very end of the book. Of course, it’s my opinion, but I think this story is almost only about the sex and not enough about the characters. For instance, I didn’t see them falling in love, I only saw lust and also a hint of fascination for each other.

Then, the matter of the “taboo” aspect of the relationship portrayed here is almost not used. At one point, Luc finds a way to make the issue moot. I would have liked more, here too. Maybe an external conflict would have been fun.

The author’s writing is flowing rather well even though I think the beginning of the book is a bit too wordy. The author has a storytelling talent and that’s why I kept reading this novel.

In the end, this book is rather nice to read, but it’s not the emotional slap I was looking for and expected to find. It’s more of a succession of sex scenes once both characters start having sex and the issues are pretty much relegated to the background. I’m sure it’s the kind of story that most readers will love, but for me while it’s enjoyable, it’s nowhere near what I’m usually looking for. I know, sometimes I can be demanding…

The other books in the series seem interesting, but I don’t know if I’ll read them.


3 to 3.5


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