Publisher: Bantam Press (5 July 2012)
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 twenty 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…
I read The Secrets Between Us as part of the Transworld Book Group Reading Challenge in August 2011 (you can read my review here, please excuse the formatting, it was imported from Blogger and I’m unable to change it!) It was a keeper for me so I couldn’t wait to get reading In Her Shadow!
We begin dramatically with Hannah seeing her old friend and nemesis, Ellen, in the Brunel Memorial Museum in Bristol where she works. This was a very atmospheric scene which hooked me in straight away!
From the time that Hannah and Jago (the boy next door) first meet Mrs Withiel at Thornfield House and the subsequent meeting after her death of granddaughter Ellen Brecht, we’re taking on a suspenseful and tension filled journey. Interspersed with chapters in the present time, a picture builds slowly of what has led Hannah to a psychotic episode and beyond … to her fragile emotional and mental state of today. These alternate timelines hook you in and keep you turning those pages – you just have to find out what drama is unfolding in the past that has had such a detrimental effect on Hannah today!
In the present time, we don’t just experience Han’s fragility. Boss John is a character that is her constant and solid support. Married and with children, he has his own problems that Han thinks he’s not facing. Their business trip to a conference in Berlin is a key (but not in the way you might think).
The childhood and teen years spent in Trethene draw you in. It’s such a perfect setting for the secrets and betrayals to come to life.
Although this is quite a dark journey (domestic violence, manipulation and obsession) there are innocent moments and the ending is just perfect. I had no idea that this was coming!
Once again Douglas has given us a journey that is full of suspense, tension and intrigue. Loved her writing style and the characters and their lives became very real to me. As I read that last sentence I was sobbing. I didn’t want it to end!
I was fortunate to receive a hardback copy from the author and a paperback copy from the publishers (in exchange for an honest review).