The Shadow Year
Author: Hannah Richel
“A tale of deceit and betrayal that will have you riveted right to the final page…clever, enthralling and at times even menacing. Curl up and settle in for a page turner.” Woman’s Day
The Shadow Year compels an odd and unique experience that swells with ripeness and fecundity. The novel takes a landscape to wrap around, as well as a chiaroscuro of both locale and characters – The Shadow Year is that good, that ennobling, and that harsh, dark and light colliding in a Thoreau like world.
Lila and Tom Bailey have lost their premature baby Millie 5 days after she was born. Through heinous nightmares, Lila slowly retrieves memories of the fall down the stairs that pushed her into early labor. She cannot allow Tom near her grief; and her mother Freya, is too immersed in grief herself to help her. Lila’s father, a strange man with too many infidelities to count, has only been dead 6 months.
One day a key and a lawyer’s letter leave Lila a strange property, isolated and beautiful, set on the moors by a lake, and Lila flees to the hidden cottage to escape Tom, her memories of Millie, her grief and her nightmares.
A group of five college students are lead by Mac to an isolated property as they graduate from college in 1980. The five are fast friends: Carla, Ben, Kat, Mac, and their charismatic leader, Simon. They crash in the abandoned shepherd’s cottage amidst a stunning lake and a pristine forest for 5 days and suddenly Simon hatches a plan. He wants the group to stay a year and live off the land rather than immediately take prestigious jobs and lose their dreams. Strangely, the other four agree.
As Richell weaves from past to present, The Shadow Year ups the ante and provides an ephemeral novel of abuse of power, betrayals so deep that they cannot be found, and five friends who lose themselves in the power of the cottage and their own weaknesses. A novel of love, family and loss, nothing is more prevalent that the locale where the harshness in the human heart prevails.
One does not read The Shadow Years: one devours it with a hunger so deep that we fall into the lake swimming or drowning: both are present. Alluring and prescient The Shadow Years chills us as the isolated cottage provides courage and tragedy and hope to Lila as she learns its horrible secrets.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
The Shadow Year is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide