Why did I pick this book as my Book of the Month?
Last year I read The Secrets Between Us also written by Louise Douglas and I was captivated by her style of writing and how she hooks the reader straight away with a plot that you just don’t really know where it is going and how it will end. I love a book that makes you think and you can’t guess what is going to happen and that is exactly what I get from the books that Louise writes. In her Shadows is exactly like this too.
Hannah Brown has spent her whole adult life trying to pretend that Ellen Brecht almost never existed. That Ellen Brecht didn’t die in a terrible accident. And, most importantly, that Hannah isn’t to blame.
When the Brecht family arrive in the sleepy Cornish village of Trethene, eight year old Hannah Brown is delighted. The Brechts are glamorous, exotic and exciting – especially the charismatic Mr Brecht, and his invalid wife. Hannah quickly strikes up an intense friendship with their young daughter, Ellen, who is wild and daring. For a while, life is perfect. Hannah is accepted into the enchanted world of the Brecht family, and is never happier than when she, her adopted brother Jago and Ellen escape to explore the glorious coastline of Cornwall.
But, one hot sultry summer when the girls are eighteen, their idyllic world is shattered by obsession, betrayal – and death…
I waited with huge expectation for this book as I was such a fan of The Secrets Between Us and I can honestly say I wasn’t disappointed one bit.
Louise has written another gripping book that really takes you on a journey that you are unsure where it will lead you. In Her Shadow starts with Hannah in the present day, she glimpses something that throws her totally off-balance and makes her doubt everything she thinks she knows to be true. The book transports you back to her childhood with her ‘brother’ and best Friend, Ellen. What starts off as a normal childhood changes so dramatically.
Whilst there are lots of ‘flash backs’ and chapters in the past as well as the present day, it is extremely easy to read and understand where you are.
As with Louise’s last book, there is a chilling feel to the book and an uncertainty of what will happen next. Beautifully written and powerful descriptive passages. This is really a book that makes you think and whilst you may or may not like the leading characters (I did), I don’t think that matters as the whole story will captivate you until you turn to the very last page and a very satisfying ending.
I asked Louise the following:-
1) Firstly let me congratulate you on The Secrets Between us being chosen as A Richard and Judy book – that is fantastic, how did that come about?
I didn’t know it had even been submitted until it was chosen, but apparently publishers put forward a range of books to the Richard and Judy team and they whittle it down to a shortlist, and in the end a selection is chosen to be part of that summer’s club. When my amazing editor Cat Cobain called me to tell me it had been picked it really was the best surprise ever!
It’s basically a book about friendship, and how jealousy, misunderstandings and circumstance can drive a wedge between even the closest friends. It started off very differently to how it ended up. I began with two older women meeting for the first time in 20 years, but the trouble with that was that they could just tell one another what had happened so there wasn’t much of a story. So I changed it to one woman, Hannah, thinking she has seen Ellen, the friend she believed had died 20 years earlier and going back into her past to work out the truth.
3) I love your books as they have a slight edgy – haunting feel to them, did you intentionally start writing like that or did it just steer that way?
I didn’t start off writing like that on purpose, but I do love reading Gothic books, and I do believe in karma and that everything in the world is interconnected so that everything influences everything else so I suppose that comes through!
4) I’m guessing you are already thinking / starting your next book – do you have any sneaky bit of info you can share about it yet?
I’m writing like mad when I have the chance, yes! I don’t want to say too much but it’s a book about love, lies and what happens when secrets are exposed. After 50 Shades, my agent asked me to write more sex, which is quite a nice thing to be asked to do and I’m really enjoying it at the moment!
5) What has been your favourite read of the last 12 months?
Ooh that’s a difficult question to answer! I loved the Sisters Brothers, which is not the kind of book I normally read. It’s about murdering desperadoes in the wild west, I found it really moving and it has stayed with me. I loved wonderful Milly Johnson’s White Wedding and The Light Between Oceans is a lovely book too.
Thank you so much Louise for allowing me to feature In Her Shadow as my Book of the Month for August.
In her Shadows is available by Transworld Publishers and published by Bantam Press and available now via Amazon uk