196. Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster

Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster (US) - (Canada) - (Kindle)

Pages: 320
Ages: 18+
Finished: Jul. 16, 2012
First Published: Jun. 5, 2012
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: mystery, thriller, Gothic, psychological suspense
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "They should be home."

Publisher's Summary: "When Grace’s husband, Adam, inherits an isolated North Yorkshire cottage, they leave the bustle of London behind to try a new life. A week later, Adam vanishes without a trace, leaving their baby daughter, Millie, in her stroller on the doorstep. The following year, Grace returns to the tiny village on the untamed heath.  Everyone—the police, her parents, even her best friend and younger sister—is convinced that Adam left her. But Grace, unable to let go of her memories of their love and life together, cannot accept this explanation.  She is desperate for answers, but the slumbering, deeply superstitious hamlet is unwilling to give up its secrets. As Grace hunts through forgotten corners of the cottage searching for clues, and digs deeper into the lives of the locals, strange dreams begin to haunt her. Are the villagers hiding something, or is she becoming increasingly paranoid? Only as snowfall threatens to cut her and Millie off from the rest of the world does Grace make a terrible discovery. She has been looking in the wrong place for answers all along, and she and her daughter will be in terrible danger if she cannot get them away in time."

Acquired: Received an egalley from the publisher through NetGalley.

Reason for Reading: The publisher's summary totally gripped me plus my family is from Yorkshire so I gravitate towards books set there.

Absolutely gripping.  What a ride!  This psychological suspense is a classic Gothic tale set on the Yorkshire moors complete with a mysterious dark handsome man, a manor on the hill and ghostly residents.  Starting off with an entirely likable main character, Grace is a woman who is all around feminine, maternal, independent and feisty.  Completely believable, she sets out to find the truth about her husband's disappearance no matter her family or friends' opinions and yet at times finds herself overwhelmed, questioning her decisions and possibly her sanity.  Never missing a beat, the plot is wound up tightly until the reader is not sure who they can trust or if anyone is being honest.

I read this book in two sittings, only because it was getting so late I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  It is not often that one reads a debut so masterfully written as this.  Beneath the Shadows reads as if it were coming from the pen of an accomplished author.  Though the book has a modern setting, the eeriness of the Gothic atmosphere gives it a timelessness.  There is a large cast of characters, so not everyone is fully developed, but those who play major roles are given plenty of attributes for the reader to reflect upon them as possible guilty parties.  What I loved about this book is that the reader is looking for what actually happened and who knows about it at the same time.   Many things build up over the course of the book until the end comes barreling down with reveal after reveal to a stunning closing.  I genuinely enjoyed this Gothic suspense from first time Australian author Foster.


  1. This would be a nice change for me to read. Gothic and mystery together.

  2. I have read mixed reviews on this one. Hmmmm It's great that you thought it was a 5/5!

  3. Mystica, I think you'll like this one!

    Joy, I think it depends on whether you appreciate the classic Gothic novel for this one. If not, a person could find it somewhat overdone, characters perhaps not quite believable but that's what creates the eerie-ness of a Gothic. I know you like to be firmly centred in reality so I'm not sure ... but at least the "ghosts" are not real :-)


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