19 Aug 2014



SOURCE: The sixth and final book won celebrating the blogoversary of Lindsay over at THE LITTLE READER LIBRARY

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: 1980. On a hot summer's day five friends stumble upon an abandoned cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. Isolated and run-down, it offers a retreat, somewhere they can escape from the world. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise .....

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the remote cottage. Bruised from a tragic accident and with her marriage in crisis, she finds renovating the tumbledown house gives her a renewed sense of purpose. But why did the cottage's previous inhabitants leave their belongings behind? And why can't she shake the feeling that someone is watching her?

FIRST SENTENCE {Prologue}: It is the smallest details that come to her: the damp grass underfoot threaded with buttercups, the air humming with insects, the snap of her nightdress catching in the breeze.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 130}: And if the logs weren't there that very first visit, how on earth had they got there since? It's almost, she realises, as if someone has left them for her ..... as if someone has been expecting her.

MY THOUGHTS: Eight months and 81 books into 2014 this has to be one of my favourite reads. 

In many ways similar to her debut novel, Secrets Of The Tides in that in this, her second novel, she once again moves from one decade to another exploring the themes of jealousy, love, loss and the power of secrets to great effect.

Interweaving what is essentially two stories (one set during the 80's, the other three decades later) at the centre of which is an isolated cottage, the author does an amazing job of building the suspense layer upon layer (my how she reels the reader in), of developing the complex body of characters, in what is a novel of intrigue and great emotional intensity.

What I actually enjoyed most about this exquisitely written book was the characterisation. Wonderfully written, without giving anything away, I loved the way the author explored how a charismatic young man's dream became an obsession as what started as a 'social experiment' takes increasingly ominous turns.

One of those novels I'll wax lyrical about for a long time to come. I have high hopes for Hannah Richell's next novel.



Kelly said...

As I read through the description of this book I wasn't too sure about how believable it would be....finding a remote cottage the characters could return to year after year (without it belonging to someone).

However, your glowing review has me reconsidering it. It may have to go on my wish list after all.

Lindsay said...

Lovely review Tracy, so glad you enjoyed this one, I did too. Agree about the convicing and well done characterisation.

The Bookworm said...

After reading your glowing review, I want to read this one. The premise sounds really good, I wonder what is going on at that cottage.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

This book sounds fascinating. I am very intrigued about the five friends and the girl who stumbles upon the cottage so many years later. The cover is beautiful. Your review is awesome and your love for the book had me adding it to my list! Thanks for sharing. :)

Suko said...

This book really does sound fascinating, and it sounds like it's superbly written. Wonderful review, Tracy. I will keep an eye out for The Shadow Year.

Brian Joseph said...

I love stories set in old isolated places. I also love stories that hark back to mysterious pivotal events from the past. These things tend to impart a lot of atmosphere in a book.

Thus, this sounds really good.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

Wow! You are so glowing in your praise of both books and author, that they have to make my 'Want To Read' list.

You seem to have had quite a run of indifferent to mediocre reads just lately, so I am pleased that 'The Shadow Year' broke the duck for you!

Both books sound full of emotional intrigue and family drama, great ingredients for an engrossing read.

Excellent review as ever, thanks for sharing,


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I like a good character book and I like the sound of her writing. Will have to check this author out!

Yanting Gueh said...

First it was the cover. Then the synopsis. Then the memorable lines, and your review. I'll put this on my TBR pile.

Literary Feline said...

This does sound good, Tracy. You had me the fact you loved the characterization and "exquisitely written".