I picked up this book (well, downloaded an ebook) as Sara Foster lives locally and there was a lot of press and book signings surrounding the release of Beneath the Shadows. (Sadly, I didn’t get to attend due to work, but maybe next time I’ll be
luckier). This is her second book and after reading this, I look forward to reading her first work of fiction, Come Back to Me as it includes Perth (hopefully Australia) as a setting. I always like to see how authors portray Perth (Cloudstreet
by Tim Winton comes to mind as a great tale of post-war Perth), but I digress.
When I read Come Back to Me, I’ll talk about it more. Unless it’s Perth, Scotland of course!
Beneath the Shadows is difficult for me to categorise – it’s well written fiction with a distinct Gothic flavour. The Gothic parts are subtly written, so most of them could be skimmed over by a speed reader, but for aficionados of the genre, there’s lots of little hints – the ghost book, the eerie neighbours etc.
This is the story of Grace, whose husband disappeared without trace in a Yorkshire winter. Did he commit suicide? Was there foul play or did the new father simply escape to a quieter lifestyle? Why was Grace’s child found on the doorstep? When Grace returns to the village the following winter with the aim to pack up the cottage and sell, her stay turns strange almost immediately. Why is Meredith, her neighbour, taking an odd interest in her? What’s her motive? Why does Grace dream of terrifying dogs? And most of all, what happened to Adam, her husband? She makes a friend in Ben, but Ben has his own problems. The tension rises to a crescendo when all is revealed – or so you think. The author still has a few more twists and turns in this one!
I found this book very well written and I read it quite quickly. It was tense and eerie. The characters I can still clearly picture – from the lovely Ben, to Grace and her daughter Millie. I really wouldn’t want to meet Meredith alone on a dark night though! Highly recommended, I’ll be watching for Sara Foster’s next book (and may even organise time off to hear her speak!)
Read this if: you like a clever, Gothic thriller.
9 out of 10.