Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

Title: The Shadow Year   
Author: Hannah Richell    
Published:  May 2014, Grand Central Publishing 
Format: Paperback, 400 pages    
Source: Publisher/She Reads  

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?

The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future.

My thoughts: Once again the gals at She Reads have managed to pick a book that I probably would not have picked up, but I ended up enjoyed immensely. I don't know how they do it, but these gals are really good at picking these gems!

While I will admit that this book did get off to a bit of a slow start for me, it quickly picks up and I soon had a hard time putting it down. Told in chapters alternating from the present to the past, it was almost like having mini-cliffhangers each time it switched. Just as we got to a place where something really good was revealed, we'd be at the end of a chapter and it would switch to the other time period.

I loved that all the characters in this book are flawed...every single one of them! The five graduates have high hopes of living off the land for a year and it starts off well, during the summer months. But when the weather changes, so does the story, and things start to take a turn for the worse. You know something bad is going to happen and you wait for it with baited breath...Then there's Lila in the present day. She's dealing with the loss of her child and when she finds out she's been left this cabin, uses it to escape reality and while there, learns about the five graduates.

As I was reading, I kept wondering how these two story lines would intersect. I had some ideas, but I definitely did not guess the ultimate outcome...when I got to the end all I could say was WOW...did I just read that? How did I miss that? I haven't stopped thinking about how well-crafted this book is and now I can't wait to pick up another book by Hannah Richell!

The May Book Club Selection from She Reads is The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell
Head over to the She Reads website to read other reviews and related posts as well as a chance to win a copy of the book.



  1. I enjoyed reading your review. I enjoyed this book as well.

    1. Thank you...have you read her other book? Wondering how that one is...

    2. This was the first book I've read by Hannah Richell, but will check out her other book.

  2. This book sounds very absorbing, Kristin. I also enjoyed your review.

    I hope you and your readers will stop by my blog as I'm having a giveaway.

  3. I love when an ending shocks you and knocks you on your hiney. Those are the best!


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