The Shadow Year

18453242Title: The Shadow Year
Author: Hannah Richell
Source: from publisher for SheReads book club
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although the big reveals in this book didn’t surprise me much, they kept the suspense high as I read about characters and a location which the author vividly brought to life

In 1980, five friends about to graduate from college decide to get away together one last time. However, when it comes time to return from the idyllic college they visit, none of them are ready to go. They eventually come up with a plan to try roughing it off the grid at the cottage for the next year. Initially, the cottage feels like paradise, but as the weather gets worse, their situation deteriorates and personal tensions build.  Thirty years later, when Lila mysteriously inherits the same cottage, she finds peace at the cottage during a difficult time in her marriage. However, she slowly begins to realize that something terrible happened to the previous inhabitants.

Reading The Shadow Year was a bit like watching a car crash in slow motion. I saw most of the big reveals coming and most of them were sad or horrifying, but somehow I still couldn’t stop turning pages as I waited to see how they would play out. Part of the reason this book was so engaging was because of the author’s superb descriptions. She described the cottage in rich detail and seeing the place from the perspective of both parallel stories added even more depth. I love dual narratives in general, but I think it’s particularly fun when people or places appear in both story lines like that so you can see how they change.

The characters were a high point of The Shadow Year. I didn’t have any trouble telling the two narrators apart and I thought every character in the story had a distinct personality. I also liked the contrasts between the two story lines, with one character’s life spiraling out of control and the other character pulling herself back together. As someone who doesn’t typically go for stories which end badly, I think having a happier storyline to balance out the more depressing one was crucial to my enjoyment of this story. I would definitely recommend this to fans of women’s fiction or of psychological thrillers, as well as anyone who likes a good dual narrative.

SR Avatar MediumFor some other perspectives, check out the reviews from other SheReads bloggers,  Amazon, or Goodreads.



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8 Responses to The Shadow Year

  1. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    This sounds like my kind of book, and though I don’t necessarily mind a depressing ending (haha), I enjoy books with an optimistic end, too!
    Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Bout of Books 10 Wrap UpMy Profile

  2. Lianne @

    Great review! Sounds like my kind of book too, though I think I have to be in a particular mood to read it :)
    Lianne @ recently posted…Review: The Return of the Mullet HunterMy Profile

    • I suspect most people would have to be in the right mood for this. It’s very atmospheric and literary and the emotional impact could make it a difficult read. It was truly fantastic though!

  3. Anita

    I have got to get this one read!! It’s on the shelf, honestly too many good books this month and next!!
    Wonderful review.
    Anita recently posted…Review: The Book of YouMy Profile

    • Since starting blogging and reading other bloggers recommendations, I always feel overwhelmed when I think about just how many fantastic books are out there! This was one I’d definitely recommend getting to when you have the time :)

  4. Allison @ The Book Wheel

    I can’t wait to read this one! I really enjoyed her first one, The House of Tides.
    Allison @ The Book Wheel recently posted…Comment on Guest Review: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by AndiMy Profile

    • I would definitely read another of her books, especially since I’ve heard the first book was also tied to a particular location and that was something I really loved about The Shadow Year.

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