I’ve already shared my review of the excellent Shadows by Thorne Moore, published by Endeavour Press on 14th June – you can read it again here. But when I heard that Brook Cottage Books were running a “blitz” event for the book today, I really wanted to be part of it. This book was such a compelling read – with 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, and a cracking story.
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.
Today I’m delighted to share an extract:
‘Is it haunted, Kate?’ Sylvia clapped her hands, like a child wanting ice-cream. ‘Oh please, please say there’s a ghost down here.’
‘There’s a ghost down here.’
‘No seriously, please tell me. You’d sense one, I know.’
What the hell. I closed my eyes solemnly. ‘I detect – a definite shiver of fear.’
‘Is that all? I was hoping for a white lady. If only we had battlements. I’m sure we’d have had a white lady, walking in the moonlight.’
‘Perhaps we can persuade one to move in.’
‘Yes!’ Sylvia gripped my arm. ‘A ghost hotel! We could get a licence to serve spirits!’
We were still laughing as we climbed back to the buttery. To finish, she led me on into the second small room, under the upper chamber.
As before, a low square room. One tiny window, two doors, stained walls, stone floor, just another empty room. ‘Not sure what to call this one,’ babbled my cousin. ‘Think of a good name. The armoury! I wonder if we could get a suit of armour.’ She was already opening the far door, into a panelled arch through deep masonry back into the Great Hall.
Just a doorway to Sylvia.
But not to me. Oh God, not to me.
‘Come on,’ she sang. ‘Where next?’
I watched her pass through, amazed that she could sense nothing. Rigid in my determination to conquer, I followed her, trying to block out the shadow, to refuse it entry into my brain.
I couldn’t. It overwhelmed my defences, enveloping me in a black cloud. Huge atavistic fear, searing thirst, gut-wrenching despair. I could feel the interweaving strands of emotion like filaments of rot, tightening around me, meshing in my lungs, my veins, my bones. How could Sylvia possibly not feel this?
About the author
Thorne was born in Luton and graduated from Aberystwyth University (history) and from the Open University (Law). She set up a restaurant with her sister but now spends her time writing and making miniature furniture for collectors. She lives in Pembrokeshire, which forms a background for much of her writing, as does Luton. She writes psychological mysteries, or “domestic noir,” and her first novel, A Time For Silence, was published by Honno in 2012. Her second Motherlove, was published in 2015 and her third, The Unravelling, came out in 2016. A collection of short stories, Moments of Consequence, came out the same year. She’s a member of the Crime Writers Association.