Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT LIVING IN THE SHADOWS by @barrow_judith

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Cathy has been reading Living In The Shadows by Judith Barrow in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books

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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 BCB-Host Button-200Rosie's Book Review team 1evocative and convincing descriptions of locations and characters, along with the dialogue, give credence to the story.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Living In The Shadows by @barrow_judith #FamilySaga #HistFic #Bookreview @honno #wwwblogs

Living in the ShadowsLiving in the Shadows by Judith Barrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Living in Shadows is the third book following the lives of a group of family and friends based mainly in Ashford near Manchester, England. Book one began in 1944 and this current book is 1969 involving many of the next generation.

In this book, we meet Linda Booth a young nurse on a maternity ward, dealing with new mother’s and fathers. Off duty she is a regular visitor to her Grandmother, whilst she questions her own relationship with her current boyfriend.

Victoria Schormann currently lives in Llamroth with her twin brother and her parents Mary and Peter. Mary was a nurse in a POW camp near where she lived in Ashford, after the war she moved to Wales. Peter had been a doctor and prisoner in the POW camp and after the war he came back and found Mary.

Victoria is bored and spoilt and decides to run away from home with a boy she met at a music concert. Seth is a hippie and runs a commune in the Manchester area, but Victoria finds the new lifestyle is more than she bargained for.

Mary’s sister and one of her brothers still live in the Ashford area with their respective families, and while Mary’s son Richard attends interviews at the University they all have their own challenges to face. Changes in what is socially accepted are harder for some to agree with, but they find themselves all drawn together when a dark figure from the past comes back and threatens the future.

This book can be read alone but I believe it would have more meaning to be read in sequence. I haven’t read the second book and I struggled to place names and family relationships. This meant I didn’t always follow the storyline as well as I expected. The book contained some good historical details and the themes were relevant to their day.

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Honno Press

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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