Today, I am excited to be sharing my review of The Shadow House by Anna Downes with you all.
Title: The Shadow House
Author: Anna Downes
E-Book/Audio Release Date: 5th April 2022
Paperback Release Date: 14th July 2022
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Page Count: 320
Buy It Here (affiliate link): Amazon UK, Waterstones, Book Depository
A HOUSE WITH DEADLY SECRETS.
A MOTHER WHO’LL RISK EVERYTHING TO BRING THEM TO LIGHT.
Alex, a single mother-of-two, is determined to make a fresh start for her and her children. In an effort to escape her troubled past, she seeks refuge in a rural community. Pine Ridge is idyllic; the surrounding forests are beautiful and the locals welcoming. Mostly.
But Alex finds that she may have disturbed barely hidden secrets in her new home. As a chain of bizarre events is set off, events eerily familiar to those who have lived there for years, Alex realizes that she and her family might be in greater danger than ever before. And that the only way to protect them all is to confront the shadows lurking in Pine Ridge.
I previously read The Safe Place by Anna Downes (REVIEW HERE), and loved it, so when I was offered a review copy of The Shadow House, of course I jumped at the chance. That did mean that I had high expectations for this book, and I was super excited to read it, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t let me down!
The story begins with Alex, who is on her way to her fresh start, her new life, with her two children, Ollie and Kara. Alex is very clearly running from something, or someone, and Pine Ridge is the perfect place for it. Immediately, this raises questions, like what exactly is it that she is running from? It makes you want to continue reading to find your answers.
Along side Alex’s story, we have Renee’s story. Pine Ridge is built on what used to be an old flower farm, which was owned by Renee and her husband. It had been in her husband’s family for generations! They had a son named Gabriel, who one night went missing, never to be seen again. We follow the events which lead up to Gabriel’s disappearance, which has now become more of a local witch story. The two stories of Alex and Renee are entwined brilliantly by the author so that they play out together perfectly.
Alex and Renee’s stories are actually very similar, particularly in their experiences with their children. Both Olli and Gabriel are clearly struggling and going through some stuff, but they’re shutting their parents out and also taking out their anger and frustrations on them. Both mother’s are obviously finding it difficult, because all they want to do is help their children and make them happy, but how do they do that when they refuse to let them help? I felt so sorry for them both. In Alex’s case, she has two children to raise single handedly, and both are at difficult ages. Ollie is a teenager, and going through all of the struggles of being a teenager, where as Kara is just a baby, and still requires constant care. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for her.
Pine Ridge sounded like a beautiful place to live, with amazing scenery, and lots of things to do, but at the same time I felt like there was something off about it, there was definitely something strange going on. Is all the community togetherness act just a front for something else? I immediately thought that Kit, who runs Pine Ridge, seemed way too nice, almost as though he had an ulterior motive, and he was definitely hiding something. And then there is all the talk of the witch story, the local legend that all of the children in the area have grabbed on to and let their imaginations run wild. The weird things that begin to happen to Alex and her family make you start to question whether the story could possibly be true.
There is a slow build of intensity throughout the story as the events unfold along the way, and a few moments which are truly horrifying. Watching Alex navigate through the difficulties of her new life, along with the weird and horrible things that are going on around her has you completely hooked. It all leads up to an exciting ending which has you on the edge of your seat, and there are a few revelations and unexpected twists which will leave you reeling. A brilliant end to a fantastic story.
I knew I was going to enjoy this book, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Anna Downes has in store for us in the future.
A huge thank you to @HodderBooks for my ebook copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I give The Shadow House a 4 star rating!
About The Author:
Anna Downes was born in Sheffield, UK, but now lives just north of Sydney, Australia. She worked as an actress before turning to writing and appeared in television dramas such as Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, and Dalziel and Pascoe.
Her writing has been shortlisted for the Sydney Writers Room Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Competition.
The Safe Place was inspired by Anna’s experiences working as a housekeeper on a remote French estate.
YOU CAN FIND ANNA HERE:
Website, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads
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