Friday, 9 August 2013

In Her Shadow by Louise Douglas

There’s a bit of Daphne du Maurier in Louise Douglas’s novel, In Her Shadow, a story full of suspense, family secrets, and forbidden romance set against a charming Cornish backdrop. 

Hannah’s fragile peace of mind is thrown into turmoil when she sees her old school friend, Ellen, at the museum where she works. The problem is that Ellen is dead, and has been for twenty years. Is Hannah being haunted? She will need to regain her courage and confront her past if she wants to put this ghost to rest. 

Told from Hannah’s point of view, the novel weaves a present day story with events of the past, when Ellen first came to live in Hannah’s hometown. A young girl from a humble background, Hannah is overwhelmed by the glamour of the Brecht family – Ellen’s urbane German father, her beautiful invalid mother, and Ellen who is both pretty and talented. 

Once a concert pianist, Ellen’s mother is slowly dying and tensions within the family have made Ellen difficult to deal with. The Brechts are delighted she has made a suitable friend in natural, unpretentious Hannah. But complications arise when the girls grow up and Ellen becomes attracted to Hannah’s childhood friend, Jago.

Louise Douglas creates plenty of tension and psychological drama, eventually taking the reader to Germany, where the past and present collide.

In Her Shadow is perhaps not the most memorable of novels, but with its well-paced storyline and sympathetic narrator, it is a pleasantly diverting read nonetheless.

Catalogue Link: In Her Shadow

Posted by JAM 

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