Before Ellen, things were easier and less complicated. They were either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, and I understood the difference. Since Ellen, everything has been coloured in shades of grey.
From the author of The Secrets Between Us, part of the 2012 Richard and Judy Summer Reads, comes this dark, thrilling novel that is perfect for your book group. It's set 20 years ago against a backdrop of dreamy Cornish summers, a place where childhood friendship becomes young love, where love becomes obsession, and where obsession ultimately ends in betrayal and a tragic death. This magical novel traces a web of memories back through the years from the present day, ultimately showing that no matter how much you might try to forget the past, the past never forgets you.
This book is not as good as "The Distance Between Us", by the same author but is still a good read.
The final part of the story came as a bit of a let down as I found it a little far fetched. Also the relationship with her work colleague was frustrating in the end of the book as I felt it was rushed and also non believable, and didn't fit in with the rest of the book.... All that aside though it was a good book which I enjoyed.
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Would you consider the audio edition of In Her Shadow to be better than the print version?
Yes, I gave the print version 4 stars but I give the audio 5. Emma Powell is one of my very favourite readers (along with Jeremy Irons and Rupert Degas).
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Yes, a moving story with plenty of drama
Any additional comments?
I will describe this very generally to avoid spoilers. It is the story of Hannah Brown in her late thirties looking back on some troubled events in her teens, spent in a tiny community in Cornwall, from which she has never recovered. On one level it is a story of loss and deceit and how we succeed and fail in dealing with it, but that does not give the full picture: there really is a great deal of loss and deceit, making a dramatic and moving read.
I felt that the book was competently written and captures an authentic feel for Hannah's voice. The stories of the past and the present unfold in alternate chapters, creating a suspense which builds throughout. The conflicts are reasonably ambiguous instead of overly simplistic black and white, apart from one character (Ellen's father) on whom a black and white judgement is eventually declared.
Overall it has the feel of a best-seller or holiday novel and is probably too lightweight to etch itself into my memory.
While I have to say I did enjoy this story but, I found it slow going to start with. Hannah works in a museum but obviously has a troubled background. She thinks she sees her best friend from her childhood but knows it isn't possible - Ellen died years ago. This 'haunting' continues while Ellen tries to come to terms again with what happened during her youth when her best friend Ellen fell in love with Hannah's foster brother with tragic results. It was beautifully read but I did have moments when I thought 'just get on with it'. However it did get there eventually and the ending was worth the wait.