The Shadow Writer

The Shadow Writer

by Eliza Maxwell

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The Shadow Writer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
lsmoore_43 1 days ago
For some crazy reason when I first started this book I was not expecting much. Even though I have loved this author’s work before I didn’t hold a lot of hope for this book. I have no idea why because it’s now in my top ten favorite books. From the beginning to the end this book held my attention. Made me want more. Made me want to know what was coming. What happens next. Who exactly is Graye/Grace. Why is she the way she is. Then wham, I got almost to the end and it all came together like you won’t believe. All the answers to who did what and why. What happened to little Grace that made her so afraid and timid all the time. What exactly in her life made her who and what she was. This book is truly a very good thriller. It held me on the edge in so many places. Made me cry in so many places. I really truly liked Graye/Grace. I think she was a victim of circumstances starting at a young age. The abuse, neglect, hatred all made her become the woman she was. The characters are so well developed and likable with the exception of a couple. I did not like David West at all. I loved his wife Laura. I liked Sister Margaret but she also made me a bit mad in a couple of places. She had her reasons for what she did though. This book is like a book within a book. It is a story about a child who is a grown woman and it’s about a grown woman who was once a child. A child who needed to be held and loved. She wanted a friend. A true friend who would not leave her. This book will definitely give you lots of emotions. It will make you wonder about what you are reading and keep you wanting more. Eliza Maxwell has written a beautiful story that will haunt you for a time to come. Make you feel for a child lost. Thank you to #NetGalley and #Lake Union Publishers for this ARC. It’s my review in my words and my thoughts. It’s a 5 star book by far. I loved it and HIGLY recommend it.
LlamaJen 3 months ago
Loved this book!!! It wasn't what I was expecting at all. So many twists and turns. The book was a mystery/suspense without the reader even realizing it. There was so much I believed to be true and just went along with the story and then bam!!! The truth is revealed and I never saw it coming. I loved everything about the book- the characters, story and writing style. I enjoyed getting to know Laura and Graye an felt like I knew them until I really didn't. Some people can just hide their crazy better than others. After meeting Alexis, was their really any hope for Gracie??? I would have loved to be at the murder mystery dinner. Definitely recommend the book . It had me hooked from the first until the very last page. Can't wait to read more books by the author, I absolutely loved The Widow's Watcher and The Grave Tender. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Carolefort 3 months ago
The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell is a book that I will probably read again because there is so much going on in this novel that a second read would be beneficial. Graye Templeton is a woman whose childhood was marred by a terrible crime that was so notorious that her name had to be changed to protect her. She is hired as an assistant to Laura West, a well-known book blogger whose husband is a famous author. The women quickly develop a strong friendship. Upon moving to a Texas island, in a guesthouse next door to her employer's home, she soon realizes that the husband is a bitter drunk whose career is floundering. She took the job in the hope that Laura would help promote her book that she had worked on for many years. From this point there will be suspected adultery, a brutal murder, spousal abuse and mysteries galore. Nothing will be as it seems. This is a slow-boiling thriller that will easily hold your attention. The Shadow Writer is the first Eliza Maxwell book that I have read and I look forward to reading her other titles. Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Cutiefulpink 4 months ago
Every once in a while, I get a book that I think I will like, but I am happy to find out that I don’t just like it… I love it. I am amazed, wowed, enamored, horrified, refreshed, and inspired all at the same time. These books are so special to me, because without book blogging, I would never have picked up this book, and I would definitely be the worse for it. Eliza Maxwell has a brilliant new voice. She takes the unreliable narrator genre, which has become saturated since the likes of Gillian Flynn hit the shelves, and turns it on its head. Her ability to tell a story, and compel that story, by revealing facts as they happen from different perspectives, is remarkable. The pace of this book is perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing. Just when I thought I had things figured it, something would happen or not happen, and I was left wondering. This is a, “I’ll only read one more chapter,” kind of book. The questions and answers fly at you so fast, that there is never time to 100% sure of anything. That distrust extends beyond the pages and into the reader, as your emotions become the most unreliable guide for the entire novel. * Special thanks to Eliza Maxwell, Luke Union Publishing, and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of The Shadow Writer in exchange for an honest review.
brf1948 4 months ago
Graye Templeton is a character, like many in everyday life, that you have to feel sympathy for even as you are exasperated by their helpless immersion in their problems. The wrong turns in their world are not motivated by hate or greed or self-defense - Graye reacts only with love and caring and a wonky fault line between right and wrong. You want to help her, to come to her defense but she is her own worst enemy and your fault line is hard-set, black and white. As is the conscious of our primary protagonist, Laura West. Laura is a sought after speaker and workshop leader, a book reviewer and blogger who has promoted and supported many authors, including her own one-hit wonder hard-drinking husband Dr. David West. David's temporary fill-in job as a guest professor at the same college where Graye is finishing up her own grad school requirements will also end with the semester. Graye's mid-term employment as Dr. West's TA will also stop at terms end, but she is honored to work for him. She loved his novel, Broken Home Harvest. It was gifted to her when she was much younger by Sister Margaret, a nun at the orphanage where she was raised, and Graye felt it spoke to her. But the David West who wrote that book is no longer in the house. His wife Laura, however, is a woman of class and kindness. She quickly becomes a good friend to Graye. It is a shame that Laura will be leaving almost immediately for Port Mary, a small coastal island in the Texas Gulf. At the end of term, fate brings Graye to that self-same island, seeking a recommendation from David before her job interview with a Houston literary critic. Instead, she is hired by Laura as her personal assistant which is for Graye a job made in heaven. Or so she thought... But before long, the bodies begin to fall. And Graye is the prime suspect. Her history may catch up with her. I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Eliza Maxwell, and Lake Union Publishing. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.
Michael OConnor 4 months ago
Author Eliza Maxwell spun such an ingeniously complex web of mystery in The Shadow Writer that it took the last third of the book to unravel it in the climax! This story takes the phrase “nothing is at it seems” to an entirely new level. Practically every character has a unique backstory and a closet full of secrets. Some secrets are revealed as we go along, but the most secretive secrets are saved (or should I say savored?) for later in the story. Much like the other Eliza Maxwell novels I’ve read, this is a dark story. The further we get into the meat of the story, the darker it becomes. And just when you think things could not possibly get any darker - they do! THE CHARACTERS OF THE SHADOW WRITER Graye Templeton and Laura West are the two protagonists. Graye is an aspiring novelist with a dark and secretive past. Laura is a very successful book blogger. The only thing they seem to have in common is Laura’s husband - a successful novelist, who is also Graye’s idol and mentor. Each woman has her own supply of ambitions and problems. However, when Graye accepts a position as Laura’s assistant, a string of events is put in motion that could not possibly be predicted (or stopped), culminating in murder. Eliza Maxwell gives us some very brief looks into Graye’s earlier life, but that did not prepare me for what comes later. (That’s a good thing.) AUDIO AND TECHNICAL ASPECTS I’ve heard that you should never go to Alaska on your first cruise because it’s one of the better cruises. That’s how I feel about this audiobook. This was my first audiobook, but I have a hard time imagining anyone doing it better than narrator Karissa Vacker did in this story. The audio was amazing! Technically, the audio was well-balanced. It was free of any background noise. Further, the narrator’s enunciation was perfect. And then there were the voices! Oh - the voices! Not only did Vacker change the pitch to differentiate characters, she also gave each character a unique voice. I very much enjoyed that! The pacing of this novel is noteworthy. I think it takes a real talent to draw out a climax as long as Maxwell did here. But it doesn’t get boring! Just when things seem to die down, there’s another reveal to keep the reader FULLY engaged. This is one of those stories where I didn’t see what was coming. I wasn’t even looking in the right direction! But once I finished and looked back, I saw the events of the story in an entirely new and original light. I enjoyed this story very much!
StoreyBookReviews 4 months ago
This book will take you on a ride much like a roller coaster.  It is filled with heart-pounding action and just when you think everything will be ok, along comes another turn that throws you for a loop. I have only read a few of Eliza Maxwell's books, but each one has left me wondering how in the world she (or any other author) can derive such diabolical scenarios.  And very few characters are who they purport themselves to be in this book.  Graye is the biggest mystery and the things we learn about her childhood says so much about her personality and thought process.  Surprised is such an understatement for what I felt as her background was revealed to us over the course of the book.  I think I can safely say that Graye is a master manipulator and she has had decades of training from life.  Since I am trying to keep this spoiler-free, let's just say that her childhood was more than I expected and as more stories were revealed it explained so much about her personality and actions. Laura is the other main character and I have to admit I thought one thing about her and then was gobsmacked to realize perhaps she too wasn't all that she portrayed herself to be in this book.  Was her relationship with her husband on the rocks or would they pull through?  How much pull did she really have as a blogger or was it her ties to the publishing industry through her family? This book mixes a fairy tale with the actual events, but is it actually a fairy tale?  Is it a peek into Graye's past?  The author did a marvelous job mixing in "fantasy"  with reality.  Or is it all reality and we just don't know it yet? There is quite a cast of characters that feed into the story and each adds their own twist to the story.  Some characters held surprises for us and others just supported what we might have already known.  There are a few parts that had me chuckling in regards to a love/hate relationship with another character that also happened to be an author.  Apparently, she is not held in high regard by many that know her. There is one section of the book that tickled my funny bone and that is the murder mystery dinner held at the hotel as part of Laura's event.  Some of the comments by those that were "murdered" cracked me up and they were quite dramatic in their "deaths". We have to give this book 5 paws up, it is just too good at keeping me in the dark and not guessing what might be revealed at the next turn.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I want to make sure this review is as spoiler-free as possible. This is all you’ll read about the plot from me: I DID NOT see those turns coming! The plot is twisty and well laid out. If there were clues in the narrative, I sure didn’t pick up on them. Great job there, Ms. Maxwell! Instead of ruining the plot for you, let’s focus on characters and writing style. I’ll admit that when I started listening to this book, I wasn’t sure if I could trust any of the characters. And by the end, I’m still not sure. Unreliable is a great adjective for the characters in The Shadow Writer. I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with any of them. (Though, that murder mystery themed blogger weekend sounded fun!) The characters are very multi-faceted, especially so Graye. I may not have empathized with her, but I certainly sympathized for her situation by the end of the novel. Laura keeps too many secrets for my tastes. But I always support an avid reader and book blogger. I adore these quotes from Laura: “Don’t tell anyone, but it’s really not. I love reading days. I live for them.” [Regarding of working on Laura’s day off.] “As my father likes to say, a person writes a book out of ego, reads a book out of hope, and recommends a book to another out of love.” [Referencing book bloggers as ‘tireless champions’.] The Shadow Writer is multi-layered, well balanced, fast paced, and told from multiple points of view. The story works well with the multiple points of view. We discover small truths (or are they lies!?!) and histories of each character through their narratives. I enjoyed how the secondary story that Graye is writing is woven into the main story line. I did occassionally struggle while listening to the audio with the changes in timeline between past and present. I do wonder if that’s more a result of my thoughts wondering while listening, though, rather than the story itself. The narration of The Shadow Writer is respectable. Ms. Vacker does a great job with inflection and intention of the characters, especially with the creepier passages. The narration really opens up the characters in the book for me. The voices of the female characters are easy to distinguish. I was really impressed with the voices of Alex and Laura. The conversations between these two women really showcases Ms. Vacker’s talents. However, I found myself challenged in separating the voices of the male characters. True, there are not many male characters, but I did sometimes struggle with remembering which one was speaking, especially in crowd scenes. In general, I enjoyed The Shadow Writer. The equal parts mystery and thriller kept my attention. This is the first book by Ms. Maxwell that I’ve read. Based on what I’ve read on other tour reviews, it looks like such a serpentine writing style is a trademark of the author. I’ll certainly be checking out more of her books in the future.
Tangled in Text 5 months ago
Oh how juicy and tantalizing this dynamic is between Laura and Graye! Eliza put all I could ever want into one story, and I couldn't get enough of it! She gave me this explosion of personalities in this pair of alternating perspectives which beautifully complemented each other, an immediate heart-stopping hook, and a huge twist in the first ten pages. Swoon! Then all her fun details with a character who reads dirty romance novels to nursing home residents, a badass book blogger who married a man after falling in love with his book, then all kinds of crazy paranoia and suspense. I couldn't take it all in fast enough. Twists and secrets and lies, Oh my! Eliza definitely remained crafty as she masterfully delivered punches to the heart and mind in the crazy dysfunctional lives she created. Dysfunction is my favorite flavor of book and The Shadow Writer was a huge cake of dysfunction, covered in a thick layer of it, then sprinkled with it for good measure. The all-encompassing book-centered environment was my favorite part of this book. I love reading about other readers and this was the best instance of that I've ever seen in a book. I was mesmerized by the allure of a life I could only dream of. This blogger planned book clubs, book retreats, freaking murder mystery dinner parties, and read books for a living. Yes please! Then you have this aspiring author who lives and breaths her work and becomes single-minded in her passion to publish. Most readers are going to be able to relate to either the love of reading and/or love of writing that is captured in this book and appreciate being represented. My one hangup was the very few instances where the story line would jump a little from one present tense to a present tense hours or months down the road, which created gaps and some confusion.  For example, one scene went from characters sitting and drinking at a house immediately to another perspective where one of them had already walked home with no farewells or any hint to that scene change. This is one intense, layered build that you wont be disappointed in. I gave this 4.5 stars only because I've read every single other one of Eliza Maxwell's books and I feel like I'm rating her through a higher standard than most, so even the slightest thing is noticed. All her work has been and continues to be brilliant, mind-altering, hangover inducing masterpieces though, so thank you for gracing us with your talent!
Katie__B 5 months ago
I was really disappointed in this one because I actually liked the author's other book, The Unremembered Girl. The characters just fell flat which is a shame because there was a pretty decent backstory for Graye. As the story progressed I cared less and less about each person. It's like the book had the basic elements of what should be an interesting story but lacked any meat and therefore came across as lackluster. Graye Templeton has tried to move on from her horrific childhood and aspires to be a writer. She takes a job working for Laura West, a fairly well-known book blogger and wife to a novelist who has had his own fair share of success. As Graye and Laura become closer and closer, they might discover a secret or two the other one has been hiding. My first feeling of uneasiness came when the story shifted to Texas and Graye started working for Laura. The transition just felt disjointed and that feeling popped up multiple times throughout the course of the book. The bare bones of a good story were here and there were some good plot twists but the book could use some polishing up. Both the plot and the characters need to be well-developed in order to make a book a compelling read and that just didn't happen here. So basically in summary, it had potential but the execution fell short. Thank you to the Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
CapriciousNiteOwl 5 months ago
3 Solid Stars. “The Shadow Writer” is a fast-paced, suspenseful read. There are few unexpected twists and the story has a dark and sinister feel to it. I enjoyed the story and the mystery within the pages of this book, however I did have a hard time connecting with the characters. I am not sure why but the characters felt flat to me and I just could not relate to any of them. There were also few places where I felt disconnected from the story, places where the story jumped in a time period without any good connection in between the chapters. This may have been an author’s intention, to make this story more dark and unpredictable, however I felt a little lost and I had to double check that I didn’t skip few pages by mistake. Overall, it was a solid 3 star book for me. It kept my interest and I wanted to continue with the story, but the lack of character development and the gaps in the timeline were just not working from me. Thank you Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Eliza Maxwell, for giving me an opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.