It was lovely to welcome author Thorne Moore to Being Anne back in June, writing about how to define her latest book, Shadows, published by Endeavour Press on 14th June. You can read Thorne’s excellent piece again here – and you’ll see she finally settled on “slightly paranormal domestic noir”. The classification doesn’t matter one bit though really – there are books, and then there are those that you thoroughly enjoy, however they may be described, and Shadows most certainly fits that description.
A compelling blend of mystery and family drama with a gothic twist, by the Top Ten bestselling author of A Time for Silence.
Kate Lawrence can sense the shadow of violent death, past and present. In her struggle to cope with her unwelcome gift, she has frozen people out of her life. Her marriage is on the rocks, her career is in chaos and she urgently needs to get a grip.
So she decides to start again, by joining her effervescent cousin Sylvia and partner Michael in their mission to restore and revitalise Llys y Garn, an old mansion in the wilds of North Pembrokeshire.
It is certainly a new start, as she takes on Sylvia’s grandiose schemes, but it brings Kate to a place that is thick with the shadows of past deaths. The house and grounds are full of mysteries that only she can sense, but she is determined to face them down – so determined that she fails to notice that ancient energies are not the only shadows threatening the seemingly idyllic world of Llys y Garn.
The happy equilibrium is disrupted by the arrival of Sylvia’s sadistic and manipulative son, Christian – but just how dangerous is he? Then, once more, Kate senses that a violent death has occurred…
Set in the majestic and magical Welsh countryside, Shadows is a haunting exploration of the dark side of people and landscape.
Goodness, I raced through this one – such a compelling read! This was one of those stories with a bit of everything – strong and sympathetic characters, well drawn and sometimes complex emotions and relationships, real shocks and surprises, a real edge of darkness and evil, a wonderful sense of place with superb descriptions, a touch of romance, a cracking story. And then there are Kate’s “shadows” – and although I’m not always a fan of the paranormal (the content here is unsettling and slightly uncomfortable rather than scary), I found it all totally believable, and fascinating to explore how on earth an otherwise totally “normal” character could cope with her insights into the residual strong emotions of others.
The characters here are excellent. I loved Sylvia, scatty and extreme but never less than likeable even when faced with the worst dilemmas of motherhood – wonderfully counter-balanced by the warm and gentle strength of Michael. “Extreme” is an adjective that could probably be used about quite a few characters in this one – the eccentric professor, the protective and unhinged student, some of the new age travellers, the “sadistic and manipulative” (blimey, he’s that all right!) Christian – but Thorne Moore writes them so well that they are never less than real people. And I loved Kate at the book’s centre, making her fresh start but tormented by her shadows, torn between her ailing relationship and an enticing new one, sharp and funny and sassy but wracked by issues that constantly disturb her balance.
If, like me, your previous experience of Thorne Moore’s writing is limited to The Unravelling, I have to say that I found this one a bit different. It’s a little lighter – which is actually a slightly ridiculous thing to say when it’s focused on death’s shadows, but I really mean in author style rather than content. It’s a tad less literary, a page-turner maybe rather than a deep and lingering thought-provoker – but the excellent writing is still there, the detailed and vivid characterisation, the visual and emotional descriptions that are so superbly done. I thoroughly enjoyed this one – and it’s a book that I think many others would enjoy too.
My thanks to author Thorne Moore and Endeavour Press for my reading e-copy.
About the author
Thorne Moore was born in Luton but has lived in in the back of beyond in North Pembrokeshire for 32 years. She has degrees in History and Law, worked in a library and ran a family restaurant as well as a miniature furniture craft business, which is still in production, but she now concentrates on writing psychological crime mysteries.
Thorne has an excellent website and blog, and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.