Also by this author: The House of Tides
Published by Orion Books on May 6, 2014
Read synopsis on Goodreads
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Still reeling from the devastating loss of her unborn child, Lila has withdrawn from both the world and her husband, so When a rundown cottage is mysteriously gifted to her, Lila sets aside her reservations and accepts. It doesn’t take long for her to find solace in the getaway, but not all escapes are as they seem. As Lila sets out to renovate her new home, she discovers artifacts leftover from a time long ago, a time when a group of college students made the cottage their home and disappeared suddenly. As she digs deeper and befriends a distant neighbor, Lila begins to unravel a story of friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption that will make her question everything she though she knew about herself.
“It was such a fine line, wasn’t it – that space between what happens and what is told?” – The Shadow Year
The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell is a dual narrative that flips back and forth from 1980, when the college students settled into their new home, and present day, when Lila struggles with her own sorrow. Although there are some predictable moments, they in no way diminish the overall plot of the story. Each story progresses on its own and culminates in an ending that will leave the reader grateful to Richell’s excellent use of foreshadowing to reveal just enough to propel the story forward.
Like her previous book, The House of Tides (review here), Richell was able to do what many authors cannot: Write a dual narrative than spans decades, rather than centuries, without leaving the story lacking in substance. She also stays true to her style by subtly crafting a story around a physical home, adding an air of familiarity that serve to enhance the overall tone of the books.
Fans of dual narratives, historical fiction, and literary fiction alike will enjoy The Shadow Year. The only thing that I would change about my reading experience is that I read it on an airplane because this is a book to be read on a porch swing overlooking a lake.