July 6, 2012

Writing about this might break the spell

Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster

This is a modern day gothic that drew me in and cast a spell that I won't soon forget.

The story opens at the home that Grace and her husband Adam inherited from his grandparents. Like a gothic of old, Foster draws upon the classic gothic themes of atmospheric setting, a cast of strange characters, and seething of a few characters that lies just below the surface. The story takes place in the English moors, always a treacherous place where the innocent can so easily be lost. Grace's husband disappears without a trace, leaving the baby carriage with their baby in it on the porch. When the story opens, Grace has returned to the cottage to go through the boxes and belongings of the former owners and of her husband Adam. She is also unwilling to walk away from Adam's disappearance - though  the townsfolk do everything they can to discourage her.

Told mostly from Grace's point of view, Foster employs moors, cliffs, a haunting, a clock that stops by itself and restarts, a blinding snowstorm, and a brooding male character in opposition to a female brooding character. The mystery is so well done that it keeps you guessing until the end.

I finished this book a few days ago and it cast such a spell over me that I felt like writing about it, like analyzing it would break the spell. I was so sorry to see this one go.


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