20 June 2013
During the long, hot summer of 1980, five university graduates discover an abandoned cottage on the edge of a beautiful lake in the English Peak District. With an eye for adventure, the five friends decide to live in this idyllic setting for a year, eking out their self sufficiency with gifts from the land. The overall dynamic of their friendship works well, but the unexpected arrival of a sixth person begins to disturb this delicate balance, and soon the loyalty and dependability of the group is called into question.
Meanwhile, in present day London, Lila inherits a cottage in a remote part of the Peak District; she has no clue to her benefactor, and as she accepts the offer of sanctuary, the peace and tranquillity of her surroundings give her a way of coping with a devastating personal tragedy. Gradually, as the secrets of the cottage are exposed, Lila is forced to recognise that her own personal loss exposes a lifetime of secrets, which once revealed can never be ignored.
The Shadow Year is an absorbing story of multi-generational deceit which works well on all levels. The author writes with great confidence, her storytelling skill is impeccable, and as she deftly manoeuvres between past and present there is no lull in the narrative, nor does the shadow of the past attempt to outshine the future. However, as the hidden secrets of the cottage are revealed, there is no doubt that the repercussions of what went on before will leave a lasting legacy for the next generation.
I was really excited to be asked to review this book on behalf of Lovereading Review Panel.
More early reading reviews of this book can be found on the Lovereading website.
The Shadow Year will be available to purchase from Lovereading.co.uk and bookshops from 20 June 2013
More information about the author Hannah Richell