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Saturday, February 25, 2023

About the Book

Book: In Spotlight and Shadow

Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel

Genre: Christian Fiction / Historical Fiction / Mystery / Romance

Release date: February 1, 2023

A Gem of a Mystery Takes Center Stage

​Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

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.


Click here to get your copy!


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. Rachel can be found online at and on all social media platforms. Her work is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency. Rachel resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

More from Rachel


The Loew’s Penn theater in Pittsburgh opened its doors on September 6, 1927. Thousands of Pittsburghians crammed the streets hoping to enter. Those who were fortunate to claim a seat gasped at the grandeur of what that has been billed the ‘Temple of Cinema.’ The new hotspot in the Steel City was regarded as the most magnificent theater between New York and Chicago.

The Loew’s Penn was five stories high and could seat over 3,000 guests. The grand lobby had a 50-foot-high vaulted Venetian ceiling, gilded Corinthian columns, and two spectacular chandeliers. The crystal for the chandeliers was imported from Vienna. From silk drapes to artwork by Renaissance masters to Italian marble staircases the theater seemed more like a museum than a cinema palace. As for the entertainment, the night began with a live stage show followed by a silent film feature.

Attendance averaged around 60,000 theatergoers a week. And with an admission charge of $.50, the theater made around $30,000 a week. Which was a substantial fortune during the 1920s. The theater hosted live stage shows and they also brought in national acts including Paul Whiteman and the Rhtyhm Boys featuring Bing Crosby. Also Buster Keaton and Eddie Cantor graced the stage.

Over the years, the allure of the Loew’s Penn faded, and the theater fell into disrepair, finally shutting its doors in 1968. The Howard Heinz Endowment purchased the building, saving it from demolition. After a 16-month renovation that had cost over $11 million, the doors opened yet again under the new name of Heinz Hall. The plush red carpet is bold and beautiful, but also a subtle nod to … you guessed it … Heinz Ketchup. The grand lobby features the original marble flooring as well as the two 15-foot chandeliers. The main auditorium seats 2,661 guests. Heinz Hall is now the home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra it also hosts concerts and Broadway touring companies.


This dual time -line story  has all the makings of a wonderful movie. The synopsis of the book gives readers details of what the story is about so I won’t go into too much of that. What I do want to talk about is how the author seamlessly ties us back and forth from the past to the present. I usually have a favorite of which I like most in stories like this. In this book I adored both the past and present so much I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stay with Sophie or go with Elise. 

What really grabbed my attention was how both women yearned for acceptance They felt like castaways from their parents and desperately wanted to prove they were worth loving. Sophie dreamed of being famous on stage but instead was propelled to stardom for something else. I couldn’t believe all the emotional pain she endured as she tried to solve the mystery of the stolen jewelry. I loved how Sophie had such a big heart and was willing to sacrifice herself at times to protect those she cared about. The author does an incredible job of  describing the era with details of the theater and all its hype. Dreams were made on stage as well as hearts  broken when others try to dash their  hopes. I especially loved the clever plot twists and was quite surprised who “The Mirage” was. One final note about this part of the  story  must acknowledge the dashing romance that one only dreams about. Make sure to pay extra attention to Sophie and the man who stands beside her through trials and helps her understand who has always loved her unconditionally.

Elise is our present day heroine who needed answers to who her father was. It has been something she has wanted to know all her life. The mystery for  her really starts when a mysterious package arrives. It doesn’t say who it is from but there are hints that it has something to do with her father. I liked how Pierson comes back into Elise’s life and helps her solve the  mystery that she received in the mail. Both of them are dealing with acceptance and being enough but I think Elise still holds on to the fact that she never felt wanted. She purses a dream that she thought would please her mother. What she realizes is that it was not really her dream at all. As the story unfolds we see how she has trust issues and keeps Pierson at a distance because she doesn’t believe he will stay around. 

The book is rich in history, mystery and a yearning to find acceptance. What I love about the story is how the author illustrates that God accepts us and loves each of us unconditionally. When we finally get to a place where we can accept ourselves, God is able to  unlock pain from the past and shower us  with hope and a new understanding of what love is. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Melissa’s Bookshelf, February 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 26

Just Your Average reviews, February 26

Rebecca Tews, February 26

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

deb’s Book Review, February 28

Simple Harvest Reads, February 28 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 1

Blogging With Carol, March 1

Remembrancy, March 2

Connie’s History Classroom, March 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 3

Betti Mace, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Cover Lover Book Review, March 4

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 5 (Author Interview)

Christina’s Corner, March 5

Paula’s Pad of Inspiration, March 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 6

Through the Fire Blogs, March 7

Bigreadersite, March 7

lakesidelivingsite, March 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8

For the Love of Literature, March 8

Blossoms and Blessings, March 9

Holly’s Book Corner, March 9

Labor Not in Vain, March 9

Book Looks by Lisa, March 10

Pause for Tales, March 10


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Sounds like a good read.

  2. This sounds good! I like split-time novels.

  3. Thank you so much for reviewing In Spotlight and Shadow!!!

  4. This sounds like a fantastic addition to the Doors to the Past series. It will be a richly satisfying read.

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful review of In Spotlight and Shadow, this sounds like a story that I will enjoy reading and I am adding it to my TBR pile

  6. Deana, Thank you for sharing your excellent review! I enjoy dual-time line novels.