Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/
Cathy has been reading Living In The Shadows by Judith Barrow in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books
The third and final part of the trilogy picks up the story in the late 1960’s and concentrates on the next generation. Peter and Mary Schormann are still living in Wales with their teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Richard has gone into medicine, taking after his father, and not letting his hearing problems hinder his career or his life. He is staying with his aunt and uncle in Ashford while he attends interviews for the university hospital in Manchester. He’s rescued from a potentially dangerous situation by Karen Worth who proves to be a catalyst in the story.
His sister, Victoria, bored with life in Wales, makes a very unwise decision, swapping what she considers her restrictive lifestyle for another, much worse and very frightening one.
Llamroth was deserted. True to form, Victoria Schormann thought: there wasn’t a soul around the village. Eleven o’ clock at night and everybody had gone into hibernation. She sighed with impatience. She’s been looking out for Seth’s camper van from her bedroom for the last two hours. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand the waiting any longer she saw it glide silently down the lane behind the church.
An extremely upsetting encounter for nurse Linda Booth, who is still traumatised by an incident from her childhood, at the beginning of the story suggests future distress. The rest of the cousins don’t escape trouble as the shadowy echoes of events from the past have unwelcome and heart breaking consequences for the whole family.
Told in short chapters, each focussing on an individual character, with an interlinking number of storylines merging into a suspenseful, sometimes quite sinister, narrative. Strong, realistic and mostly likeable characters, with one or two noticeable exceptions, all drive the story forward. Issues that were totally frowned upon during 1960s are dealt with, including same-sex relationships and domestic violence. Cults and commune living, the effect they had on the members and their families, are also explored. The coincidences that bring the threads together are worked into the story extremely well, culminating in the final dramatic and moving scenes.
Judith Barrow crafts a skilful tale without downplaying the reality of life for ordinary people in a northern 60’s town. The evocative and convincing descriptions of locations and characters, along with the dialogue, give credence to the story.