Shadow in the Sea by Sheila Nielson

Posted November 30, 2015 in Blog Tour, Book Review / 4 Comments


Shadow in the Sea by Sheila Nielson

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow in the Sea by Sheila NielsonShadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
Series: Forbidden Sea #2
on August 13th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 396
Format: eARC
Source: ARC from publisher
Buy on Amazon

When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.
Sade's quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals' dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood's ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn't fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago.

Main points

I LOVED this book. Oh my goodness it was so emotional. So you think it’s going to be your typical mermaid love story right? Girl falls in love with mermaid royalty happily ever after? Well, parts of it are, but there’s SO MUCH MORE.

Oh my goodness. I love the old-fashioned feel of this book. The noblemen, the fancy clothes and fancy language, the propriety and impropriety…contrasting so nicely with the fantastical element of the merworld. There was all sorts of island-y superstition and sailor superstition. Rumors of dark magic and spells and love potions, although those weren’t really in the book at all. The book wasn’t too much about the merworld! Some might be disappointed, but I loved seeing how the merpeople fit in with the drama of Sade’s own life, of which there was plenty. Yes, the two distinct parts fit together quite nicely.

Okay, I’ll admit, there is a case of ridiculous insta-love, made even more impossible by the fact that they don’t even speak the same language (not even by the end of the book). But of course I don’t care. I’ve never had a problem with insta-love. What I thought was really cool was that they spoke through emotions. Isn’t that awesome? It’s almost more real than words. Emotions are less precise, but at the same time…more precise, because they’re more true. We don’t have to stop and think about how we want to convey them, unless we’re using words. We just feel them. And if someone else feels what we’re feeling, then that’s the best, more pure way to communicate. So I was fine with Araedyn’s unexpected courtship of Sade. I mean, I do feel like it doesn’t take up much of the book, not nearly enough for her to be feeling so strongly and for what happens at the end, but it’s one of those meant-to-be things. Can’t fight that. Besides, it certainly helped her out in the end. (Also, kind of a super minor love triangle, but it’s pretty obvious how it turns out.)

I really liked how introspective this book was. Sade examines herself a lot and how her past has changed her and the kind of person she’s become vs. the kind of person her mother figure would have wanted her to become. She learns about love and trust all over again from the kind people that have come into her life, even as it seems that most people hate her for no reason. It’s one of those books that really makes you love people. And I tell you, there were some people I wasn’t sure about! Like Estelle, one of the people who helps take care of her when she washes up. Despite the few moments when I felt like I was warming up to her, and she was warming up to Sade, I was still pretty certain her fear would make her betray Sade. But you just never know about some people!

That leads me to another great point—I know I mentioned it in the second sentence, but here it gets its own paragraph. This book has all the FEELS. I tell you, there were so many people I wanted to slap and hug in this book…everyone has such clear character and the way you view them through Sade’s eyes just enhances that. I talk to myself a bit, but I was doing it a lot when I read this—that kind of out-loud commentary you do when watching a show with a friend. I was so into it. I didn’t expect to cry, but I did towards the end a tiny bit. For some reason when someone else cries—in real life or on TV or in books, wherever—I’ll cry too. It comes with my curse of being too empathetic. If you’re cursed with that as well, BEWARE! Keep the tissues at hand. This is so much more than a sappy romance. It’s not even sappy. This is really a book about people and their natures.

But gosh darn it, I need a book two!!! I know this is part of a series and I kinda want to read the first one now, but I really want to know the rest of Sade’s story. It ended on such a promising note. (Spoiler alert: she’s doesn’t end up dying over the course of the book.)

Whew. This book was intense and emotional and heartwarming and I loved every second of it. I want more murder mysteries/mermaid romances in my life.

 reaction upon finishing


this book in one word



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About Sheila A. Nielson

In addition to writing books, Sheila A. Nielson has also worked as a children’s librarian for over eighteen years. She also has a BFA in children’s illustration. She is also a miniature artist who collects and creates dollhouses. She also likes to use this skill to create jewelry with lockets that have miniature scenes inside them.

Overall: five-stars


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4 Comments on "Shadow in the Sea by Sheila Nielson"

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Oh wow this sounds like such a great book! I Love it when you get so invested in a book that you really feel all of the feels! :D I really need to give this one a try, it seems! Lovely review, Alicia!


Your review is so emotional that it makes me want to grab the book right now!! Wow! I don’t like insta love either but sometimes it works out!