The Shadow Year

( 2 )

Overview

Still grieving the death of her prematurely delivered infant, Lila finds a welcome distraction in renovating a country house she's recently inherited. Surrounded by blueprints and plaster dust, though, she finds herself drawn into the story of a group of idealistic university grads from thirty years before, who'd thrown off the shackles of bourgeois city life to claim the cottage and rely only on each other on the land. But utopia-building can be fraught with unexpected peril, and when the fate of the group is ...

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The Shadow Year

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Overview

Still grieving the death of her prematurely delivered infant, Lila finds a welcome distraction in renovating a country house she's recently inherited. Surrounded by blueprints and plaster dust, though, she finds herself drawn into the story of a group of idealistic university grads from thirty years before, who'd thrown off the shackles of bourgeois city life to claim the cottage and rely only on each other on the land. But utopia-building can be fraught with unexpected peril, and when the fate of the group is left eerily unclear, Lila turns her attention to untangling a web of secrets to uncover the shocking truth of what happened that fateful year, in order to come to terms with her own loss and build a new future for herself.

Suspenseful and moving, with a deep secret at its heart, THE SHADOW YEAR is Hannah Richell's breakout book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richell's highly charged and effortless writing draws readers in from page one. . . . Literary in style, but not stuffy or arrogant, THE SHADOW YEAR is entertaining and sometimes heartwrenching. It is a smart page-turner, a bit scary and quite atmospheric, exploring the depths of sadness, loneliness, loss and hope, as well as the meaning of family."—Sarah Rachel Egelman, BookReporter.com

"An absorbing, deeply satisfying novel examining the relationships that make up our lives and what happens when the best intentions go deeply astray. Beautifully written and skillfully woven, this is a compelling tale of tragedy and forgiveness."—Booklist

"Richell's story grips the reader from the very beginning and doesn't let go until the last page. The richly depicted characters draw the reader into their hearts and lives. The intricately woven plots drive this page-turner to the very end. Four stars."—RT Magazine

"An engrossing and clever tale."—Anita Shreve

"A slow-burning drama, with several mysteries furled tightly inside one another... [Richell]'s an astute storyteller and knows exactly how to reel in readers and keep them hooked."—The Australian

"Hannah Richell instantly draws you into her story. Powerful, real and memorable."—Elizabeth Noble, bestselling author of Things I Want My Daughters to Know

"Hannah Richell is undoubtedly skilled at creating characters that are so believable your heart aches for them."—Good Housekeeping (UK)

"[I] had to fight the desire to devour it in one indulgent sitting. The past and present story lines are deftly woven and equally engrossing, while the atmosphere of unease builds and builds, and lingers way beyond the last page. Brilliant."—Emylia Hall, author of The Book of Summers

"I whiled away a few joyous hours with Hannah Richell's debut novel . . . this is a 'family story' at its stirring best, a page-turner for sure. It's the perfect novel for a sunny day at the beach, or a rainy one, indoors on the windowseat."—The Hudson Valley News

"An engaging family drama with a well-crafted story line and spirited characters."—Booklist"Exactly the kind of book I adore. An idyllic English house, a broken family, past and present, threaded by piercing secrecy. The House of Tides propels us forward with hope, even as our hearts break. Tragically beautiful, achingly authentic, Richell's debut will resonate across generations."—Sarah McCoy, international bestselling author of The Baker's Daughter

"Four and a half stars (a Top Pick). Palpable tension and intriguing characters make this novel tough to put down. . . this story will delight readers with its mood-evoking setting and sense of mystery."—Romantic Times Magazine

Booklist
"An engaging family drama with a well-crafted story line and spirited characters."
The Australian
"A slow-burning drama, with several mysteries furled tightly inside one another... [Richell]'s an astute storyteller and knows exactly how to reel in readers and keep them hooked."
Anita Shreve
"An engrossing and clever tale."
Romantic Times Magazine
"Four and a half stars (a Top Pick). Palpable tension and intriguing characters make this novel tough to put down. . . this story will delight readers with its mood-evoking setting and sense of mystery."
Elizabeth Noble
"Hannah Richell instantly draws you into her story. Powerful, real and memorable."
Good Housekeeping (UK)
"Hannah Richell is undoubtedly skilled at creating characters that are so believable your heart aches for them."
Sarah McCoy
"Exactly the kind of book I adore. An idyllic English house, a broken family, past and present, threaded by piercing secrecy. The House of Tides propels us forward with hope, even as our hearts break. Tragically beautiful, achingly authentic, Richell's debut will resonate across generations."
The Hudson Valley News
"I whiled away a few joyous hours with Hannah Richell's debut novel . . . this is a 'family story' at its stirring best, a page-turner for sure. It's the perfect novel for a sunny day at the beach, or a rainy one, indoors on the windowseat."
Emylia Hall
"[I] had to fight the desire to devour it in one indulgent sitting. The past and present story lines are deftly woven and equally engrossing, while the atmosphere of unease builds and builds, and lingers way beyond the last page. Brilliant."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455554331
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 344,108
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hannah Richell was born in England. After graduating from the University of Nottingham, she worked in the book publishing and film industries. She now lives with her husband and two young children in Sydney, Australia.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Still reeling from the devastating loss of her unborn child, Lil

    Still reeling from the devastating loss of her unborn child, Lila has withdrawn from both the world and her husband, so When a rundown cottage is mysteriously gifted to her, Lila sets aside her reservations and accepts. It doesn’t take long for her to find solace in the getaway, but not all escapes are as they seem. As Lila sets out to renovate her new home, she discovers artifacts leftover from a time long ago, a time when a group of college students made the cottage their home and disappeared suddenly. As she digs deeper and befriends a distant neighbor, Lila begins to unravel a story of friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption that will make her question everything she though she knew about herself.




    The Shadow Year is a dual narrative that flips back and forth from 1980, when the college students settled into their new home, and present day, when Lila struggles with her own sorrow. Although there are some predictable moments, they in no way diminish the overall plot of the story. Each story progresses on its own and culminates in an ending that will leave the reader grateful to Richell’s excellent use of foreshadowing to reveal just enough to propel the story forward.




    Like her previous book, The House of Tides (review here), Richell was able to do what many authors cannot: Write a dual narrative than spans decades, rather than centuries, without leaving the story lacking in substance. She also stays true to her style by subtly crafting a story around a physical home, adding an air of familiarity that serve to enhance the overall tone of the books.




    Fans of dual narratives, historical fiction, and literary fiction alike will enjoy The Shadow Year. The only thing that I would change about my reading experience is that I read it on an airplane because this is a book to be read on a porch swing overlooking a lake.




    Allison @ The Book Wheel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    "The Shadow Year" By Hannah Richell  Let me start by

    "The Shadow Year" By Hannah Richell 

    Let me start by saying that I did not read the synopsis for this book so I had no idea where this story and it's characters were going.

    This book starts off with a haunting prologue that immediately grabbed my attention and didn't let go for the remaining 300+ pages. 

    "The Shadow Year" is told through two different points of view, 30 years apart in alternating chapters. 

    In the present day we have Lila.

    Lila has recently suffered the death of her father and the loss of her newborn baby.
    She's depressed and justifiably can't move on for multiple reasons. One of the main ones being she can't remember the day
    that she fell down a flight of stairs causing the early delivery of her daughter. 

    She blames herself for rushing about that day, trying on different tops, being frustrated that none of them fit.
    But after getting dressed that day her memories blur and disappear all together. 
    Her husband Tom is worried about her and that worry only grows when she receives a letter from a law firm stating
     that she has been gifted a plot of land and a small cottage in a remote area in the English countryside by an anonymous
    person. Lila, seeking solitude, silence and being an interior renovator decides to fix up the desolate cottage. She is fascinated
    by the former inhabitants of the old cottage, often wondering how they survived in such seclusion and with such little amenities.  

    In 1980 we have Kat. 

    Kat and her four friends have just graduated from university, within the next couple of weeks they are expected to find jobs,
    places to live, places to settle down. 

    Faced with the inevitability of having to grow up they decide to have one last weekend. One filled with swimming, drinking
    and smoking. Deciding that the beach will be packed with people who all had the same idea they are provided a solution when
    Mac, the quiet one of the group, suggests a hidden lake that he once visited.

    Hours away from London and off the beaten path they are amazed at the beauty that is tucked away there.
    Enjoying their last couple of days together they can't fathom why no one has claimed the plot of land by the lake with a
    cottage nestled in the middle of it. Simon, the unspoken leader of the group suggests they themselves claim it, take a year
    off, spend it together, away from everyone else, away from the troubles of the outside world lurking beyond the trees. 

    They'll grow their own food, chop their own wood, live off of the land.   

    Kat is easily swayed, she would do anything to spend as much time with Simon as possible. Ben, Carla and Mac also agree.
    After all, its only a year, what could they possibly have to lose? Simon swears them all to secrecy, no one needs to know where
    they are. It would only disrupt their plans. 

    When Kat goes against Simon's wishes and writes to her younger sister telling her where they are she doesn't think much of it.
    She has always been like a mother to Freya and she doesn't want her to feel abandoned. The thought never crosses her mind
    that Freya would travel hundreds of miles to see her and her friends secret hideaway. 

    "The Shadow Year" is a thought provoking tale of love, secrets, betrayal 
    and the lies we tell ourselves to heal our scars. 

    Until next time, 
    GingerReader22 

    In compliance with FTC guidelines I am disclosing that this book was given to 
    me for free to review.
    My review is my honest opinion. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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