Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster
Sara Foster presents a thrilling debut in her Gothic suspense novel Beneath the Shadows. In fact, as the story unfolds, there are shadows everywhere, giving the novel a dark and gloomy ambiance. The atmosphere is just dark enough to keep the reader turning pages but with enough light to offer hope. The North Yorkshire’s windswept moors in late December paint an eerie dimension as well.
When Grace’s husband Adam inherits a cottage at Roseby, the couple packs up and leaves London for a more peaceful existence. However, a few days into their new lives, Adam disappears and the couple’s baby is found in its carriage outside the house. As the novel opens, Grace, after a year’s absence, has returned to Roseby to close up the cottage and to try to find an answer to Adam’s disappearance. Her family and friends, and the police, believe Adam left her but Grace, who knew her husband better than anyone else, insists he would not have left her. As she sorts through boxes in the attic and the cellar, Grace becomes more convinced than ever that something criminal took Adam away from her.
The few people that Grace comes into contact with in the tiny village are at times welcoming but at other times are distant and reserved. When her sister and an old friend come to visit, the atmosphere becomes contentious. The only person who seems to be on her side is Ben, who is house sitting at a nearby cottage but Ben appears to have secrets of his own. Many days it seems that the only bright spot in her life is her daughter Millie.
Ghost stories abound on the moors and when a snow storm cuts the village off from the outside world, Grace finds it increasingly difficult to determine what’s true and what’s fantasy. Then as Grace makes a startling discovery, it becomes apparent that she and her daughter may be trapped by a killer.
I love Gothic novels and the haunting atmosphere in this one set just the right tone. Sara Foster has a bright future if she continues to write books of this caliber.
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