Monday, February 10, 2014

Reading in 2014 - The Shadow Year

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

The Shadow Year'On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can't she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?
The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future.'

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I read this in three sittings - but would have read the whole thing cover-to-cover if I had the time.
The beginning was a bit confusing, but you quickly adjust to the chapters jumping between the two characters and their respective 'presents' - one in past and one now.

This is the sort of story I seem to have a clear preference for - a study of relationships and interactions between people, how their personalities or flaws influence their actions and how their choices and actions have consequences that echo long after the event.

You sometimes see comments about 'a carefully woven tale' and that is an extremely apt description of this book. Hannah Richell has taken great care in sequencing this story, revealing the characters and plot in a well crafted manner. She teases you right up to the very last page and leaves you somewhat exhausted but satisfied. If you respect the work of Gillian Flynn then you should enjoy this.

This is her second book and I will seek out her first and keep an eye out for any new works.

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