REVIEW: Shadowboxing – Anne Barwell

Shadowboxing - Anne Barwell

Genre: Historical, WW2, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Demisexual

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Echoes Rising Book 1

Complete their mission or lose everything.

Berlin, 1943

An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.

For the team sent by the Allies—led by Captain Bryant, Sergeant Lowe, and Dr Zhou—a simple mission escalates into a deadly game against the Gestapo, with Dr Lehrer as the ultimate prize. But in enemy territory, surviving and completing their mission will test their strengths and loyalties and prove more complex than they ever imagined.

Author’s note: This is the third edition of Shadowboxing. The first and second editions were released by another publishing house. This story has been re-edited, and uses UK spelling to reflect its setting.

The Review

Anne Barwell brings back her re-edited version of “Shawdowboxing” from 2016.  Readers are transported to war-torn Berlin, Germany in 1943, and introduced to Dr. Kristopher Lehrer and Michel Faber, along with a heroic band of Resistance fighters and Allies.

Dr. Kristopher “Kit” Lehrer has worked hard and put his focus on a very special project. He believes the project will benefit everyone in the world. When he meets with an old friend, David Reuben, his friend warns him that something’s not right with the project and the people he works with.

With the persistent nagging of the warning, David going missing, and a terrifying dream, Kit goes to Dr. Kluge with his concerns. When the doctor takes too long to meet with him, Kit discovers the horrifying truth.

As the truth continues to weigh on him, he makes one more attempt to confront Dr. Kluge, and finds himself in his own nightmare.  When he’s discovered by  Obergefreiter Schmitz, a soldier protecting the small group of scientists, Kit finds all is not what it seems.  Schmitz is actually Michel Faber, a Resistance fighter, brave and willing to get Kit and his secret out of danger to Switzerland.

Michel Faber, Captain Matt Bryant, Sgt. Ken Lowe, Dr. Zhou Llang, Ed Walker and Trevor Palmer form the courageous combination of Resistance and Allies.

There are also three very fierce woman who fight for Resistance: Dr. Clara Lehrer, Elise Schuster and Juliane Dunst.  All of these brave individuals come from different walks of life and countries, including America, France, China, Japan, and Germany, to fight for freedom.  

But freedom comes easy for no one. They have to face the cruelty, torture and even death from Herr SS Standartenfuher Karl Holm, Margarete Huber, SS Obersturmfuhrer Reiniger and the Nazi’s/Gestapo.

In 2016, when I selected “Shadowboxing” by Anne Barwell to review, I had no idea that she would turn out to be a favorite author of mine, and that the “Echoes Rising” series would become a favorite read, without being a mystery. Yes, the story is about war, history, torture, the cruelty of Nazi’s and Gestapo. It’s also suspenseful with intense action and heartbreaking moments, love and loyalty.  

Besides all the amazing characters, there’s a slow-burn relationship that grows between Kit and Michel, and a surprising one with Matt and Ken. I also like the contrast that Barwell presents with Clara, Kit’s sister and Juliane Dunst, Karl Holm’s sister.  She has created two very opposite men, and the love and loyalty that their sisters have for them.  

This is an intriguing and serious read, with such in-depth characters with their secrets, hopes, fears, guilt, love, and the courage that takes them into danger and makes them a unique group of heroes.

“Shadowboxing” will always be was an outstanding read for me, no matter how many times I read it. I love the new cover too – the art certainly tells the story.  I’m so glad that Anne Barwell is getting the second installment “Winter Duet” (book two of the “Echoes Rising” series) ready for re-release soon!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


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