Book: Secrets in the Shadows
Author: Hannah Emery
Available: Out now
If you enjoy this book you might like: The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Summary: In 1920s Blackpool, 11-year-old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. One which will leave a haunting legacy. Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. It’s not her first vision, and she finds herself spending her life trying to change the revelations that haunt her. In present day Blackpool, Grace struggles to understand her visions, and struggles as her twin sister Elsie plans a wedding with the man Grace loves. All three generations must make a choice – in the face of certain destiny, do you chase what’s ‘meant to be’, or throw away fate and make your own future?
Hope you had great weekends! I’ve been completely hooked on Hannah Emery’s Secrets in the Shadows – it’s one of my favourite reads so far this year, so I might gush a bit (sorry). I absolutely love novels where different eras intertwine and that’s exactly what happens in Hannah’s book. The book follows the stories of Rose, her daughter Louisa, and Louisa’s daughters Grace and Elsie. The plot seamlessly jumps between the past and present, and I found myself completely involved as each generation tries to make sense of the past generation’s mistakes.
What’s awesome about Hannah’s novel is that, although the women can see into the future, it’s not the main theme of the book. It’s obviously important, but the real focus is on the mother-daughter relationships in the novel. There’s a particular scene where Elsie overhears Louisa talking about the girls, and concludes that her mother loves one twin more than the other: it’s a really heart-breaking moment, and we eventually hear Louisa’s side (although I won’t reveal too much). Initially, when Rose disappears you are left wondering how she could simply abandon her daughter, but as the story progresses you get more of her story – I still wasn’t sympathetic but I was surprised to find that I understood her decision a bit more.
That’s what is so great about this book – the constant jumping from past to present means that you get the full story, but it’s not a predictable storyline. For example, when it comes to the love triangle that Grace and Elsie find themselves in, at points I thought I guessed what would happen, but Hannah throws in a few unexpected twists (I won’t tell you which ones but if you read the book, you’ll definitely see what I mean!).
This is a great novel about women and how mothers, daughters, sisters and friends interact. There isn’t a ‘nice woman vs horrible woman’ plot – all the women are flawed but it’s the way they try and overcome these flaws so that they can help each other that makes this such a brilliant book.
A great read if you’re currently trying to make some big decisions in your life… Also, if you were a fan of the TV show That’s So Raven, this is kind of like its more serious, novel-formatted sister.