It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
I’d recommend reading Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow. This particular novel is the third in the series, published by Honno Press: ‘Honno is an independent co-operative press run by women and committed to bringing you the best in Welsh women’s writing.’
The first two books are: Pattern of Shadows and Changing Patterns. I read Living in The Shadows as a standalone. Whilst it can be read as a standalone I’d recommend that you read it as part of the complete series.
Without a doubt Living in The Shadows is a lovely family saga set in the 1960’s following the lives of three families, the Howarths, the Booths, and the Schorrmans. I really enjoyed this saga which reminded me of a TV soap (of the highest quality,) in so many respects.
To begin with I have to admit that I found it a bit daunting as there are a whole host of characters to get to grips with, and I made this worse for myself by not getting acquainted with them in the first two books! As well as this the novel is written in an unusual style with short chapters, telling the story from the viewpoint of individual characters. But, by the end of the book I felt as if knew all of the characters personally, and shared in their sad moments, worries and dreams. Judith has a talent for bringing the reader into the moment, employing the full use of all the sensory organs, creating a visual, and auditory delight. The dialogue flows well and all in all this is a very confidently written book. My favourite part of the story focusses on Victoria, a wilful young woman who runs away from her home in Wales to join a hippie commune. Sadly this decision ends up being far from a good one. The promises of freedom and happiness that she hopes for, turn out to be empty promises made by Seth, also known in the Commune as The Master.
As well as this there is a particularly villainous bad guy and the final few chapters are both sad, and riveting.
I was the lucky winner of a giveaway of Living in The Shadows via Brook Cottage Books Here’s the link to their post, and their review:
Have you read Living in the Shadows, or the previous books in the series?
Do comment if you have.
Bye for now, come back soon….
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx