In Spotlight and Shadow by Rachel Scott McDaniel ~ Book Review

January 28, 2023


About the Book


Book: In Spotlight and Shadow
Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Series: Doors to the Past, Book 11
Publisher: Barbour 
Release Date: February, 1, 2023

Elise Malvern has a habit of letting people down. Her former boyfriend who hoped she’d be his bride. Her grandfather who hoped she’d take over the family’s auction company. But mostly she’s disappointed herself. What’s the point of pursuing her passion as a violinist, if she is too scared to audition for a seat in the Pittsburgh Symphony? Her internship at the elegant Heinz Hall places her in the wings of the stage, but never on it. By accident, she discovers an old stage prop. Her instincts tell her there’s more to the paste necklace than meets the eye. Whether a good idea or not, she accepts help from a childhood friend, who happens to be country music megastar—Peirson Brooks. Peirson and Elise share a history; one she doesn’t care to repeat. The more involved they become in the mystery, the more things get tangled, including her heart.
A century earlier…
Sophie Walters longs for center stage, her name on the marquee, and all that jazz, but climbing her way into an acting career is more difficult than she imagined. Having spoiled all her chances in Hollywood, she returns to Pittsburgh, accepting an insignificant role in a popular production. She watches her dreams pass by from behind the curtain at the illustrious Loew’s Penn Theatre. She finally gets the coveted spotlight, but not for her talent. No, her surge to fame is all one terrible mistake. Somehow, she’s suspected to be a notorious jewel thief known around Pittsburgh as The Mirage. The man she pleads for help is none other than the man she jilted at the altar five years before, Sterling Monroe.

My Thoughts

I have read all of Rachel's books and I have never been disappointed. They have all been excellent and intriguing and this one definitely rose above the top. I think she has such a knack for writing dual timelines that completely draw you in. There is always a bit of everything from mystery to humor, twists and of course swoon worthy romances!! 

Although I thoroughly enjoyed both timelines I must admit that I have been waiting for this 1920's timeline since Rachel's first book Above the Fold. (If you haven't read it yet you must!!) I was so glad to have resolution to Sterling and Sophie's storyline. It was great getting to know Sophie better and why she acted the way she did in the first book. The jewel thief twist was perfect in this storyline!! We get to see some past characters and that was just like the cherry on top for me!

We do have to talk about the present timeline... whew the characters chemistry is on fire!! The almost kisses between her and Pierson had me at the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed their storyline as well and I could've read a whole book just about them. The growth that Elise goes through in the story is amazing. She truly grows not only within herself but with God. She starts seeing herself the way God sees her and realizes that she needs to live her life and not follow after someone else's dream. This is all due to Pierson challenging her which I found completely swoon-worthy!

Both timelines were amazing and I didn't know how in the world they were going to connect to each other but they did. There were twists I didn't expect which is always a good thing when reading a book. I read this way past my bedtime and it was completely worth it! 

Overall I loved this book but honestly I have loved every book that Rachel has written. She is one of my favorites. The way she writes is enjoyable to read because she truly grabs you. I laughed, awaited in suspense and even shed some tears while reading. The faith thread was present and I love that she puts God in the center of all her stories. I for one can't wait to read what she pens next! 

My Rating: 5 Stars/LOVED IT!!

I received a copy of this book for review. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.


About the Author

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at and on all social media platforms.

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