Saturday 21 July 2012

In Her Shadow by Louise Douglas

In Her Shadow is Louise Douglas' fourth novel and was published by Transworld earlier this month.

This a complex story that draws the reader in from the beginning, I found it very difficult to put down and when I was not reading it, I was thinking about it.

Hannah is a young woman who works at a Bristol museum, from the off it is clear that she has some issues from her past that shape her behaviour.

Hannah 'sees' her childhood friend Ellen in the museum, but Ellen died many years ago, so how could that be?   Hannah narrates the story in chapters that alternate between the present day and her childhood.  

Ellen Brecht and her family lived in a big house in the sleepy Cornish town where Hannah and her adopted brother Jago were the only other children.  The Brechts appeared different, and glamorous and soon both Hannah and Jago were entranced by them.

There is an air of mystery and drama about Ellen and this is what attracts Hannah to her, coupled with her attractive and attentive father who is so different to her own staid, somewhat stuffy parents.

There is an air of darkness about this story and because the reader knows from the beginning that Ellen is dead this makes it even more compelling.  

As Hannah tells the story of their childhood with Ellen firmly in the centre of it, the reader becomes more and more desperate to know what will happen, and why is Ellen no more?  

This is a very clever way of hooking the reader, and as the story becomes more involved, the pages are turned quicker and quicker.   Towards the end of the story there is an almost unbearable air of tension and suspense, that certainly quickened my heartbeat.

Louise Douglas is a very capable author who is able to combine the menace of a psychological thriller with a coming of age drama and a sprinkling of romance too.  Her characters, whilst not always likeable are always believable and often unpredictable.

In Her Shadows will not disappoint existing fans of  Louise Douglas and I hope will win her many more.

My thanks to both Louise and Transworld for sending my copy for review.

Look out for a Question and Answer session with Louise and a chance to win a copy of In Her Shadow, here on my blog in the next few days.

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