Randi E. (Walnut Creek, CA)
This book represents my favorite kind of mystery.....set in England, on the moors...Moody, Gothic, with some spooky/supernatural undertones. Sara Foster is a very good storyteller. The mystery slowly builds to an exciting yet believable conclusion, one that was not obvious.
Samantha H. (Golden, CO)
Enjoyable read, Keeps you guessing
Beneath the Shadows grabbed my interest from the start. It is easy to sympathize with the main character, Grace. The mystery and intrigue develops in a small community on the North Yorkshire moors. The plot is not predictable, and it is an enjoyable read. I only wish that some of the supporting characters had been fleshed out in more depth. We get to know the heroine, Grace, quite well, but the others barely make it to the surface.
Doreen L. (Windsor, CT)
The Past Casts Menacing Shadows
“They should be home.” Upon reading the opening sentence, my heart clutched with anxiety. Who hasn't experienced concern when a loved one is late arriving home? A few pages later Grace, the main character, sees a dark shape on her doorstep. She pulls open the door and stops in shock. Her infant daughter's pram is the sole object in sight. She checks the inside, and, Millie is softly sleeping. But where is Adam, Grace’s husband?
A year later Grace and Millie return to Hawthorn Cottage ostensibly to sort it out, but Grace is determined to find out what happened to Adam. The story unfolds from that point on, introducing numerous characters (almost too many to keep track). The author uses a number of eerie devices to prick our fears, for example, a grandfather clock that stops and starts of its own accord, piercing screeches in the night, a cellar door that slams shut without human intervention, and a creepy, dark attic to name a few.
The first third of the book is the strongest part of the novel and shows the author’s skill using language to evoke atmosphere: “Grace turned and trailed through the cottage, flicking at wall switches, shaking the shadows from their slumbers and driving them out.” Here’s another example, “All around her the shadows of the room languidly stretched themselves out, resettling as the darkness grew.” I especially like the author’s use of Grace’s finding old photographs and objects packed away in the attic and cellar to flashback to earlier times – “The past flew into the present.” Moreover, the description of the moors and the sense of isolation are conveyed to perfection.
In the meantime, I have a few quibbles. Although the literary devices the author uses to generate fear in the reader are successful in the beginning, there are too many throughout the story, and, I began to feel “played.” Second, many of the chapters end with a cliffhanger. It got to the point where this became a bit formulaic. However, these minor issues should not dissuade the reader to pick up book. It certainly kept me guessing what would happen next.
Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)
losing oneself in the shadows
From the very first, Sara Foster's Beneath the Shadows had me in its thrall. Wild, snowy moors, secrets in the basement. . .suspenseful elements abound. Unique characters are marvelously depicted. The author weaves a wondrous tale, drawing readers into the sad plight of Grace, whose husband has suddenly disappeared.
This debut novel is a page-turner, leading us along eerie trails that involve a well-settled village and the newcomer: a young mother seeking answers.
Jane R. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
This books was described as a gothic thriller. I didn't find it thrilling and the only thing gothic about it was that it takes place in a remote village. The author was obviously trying to make the story suspenseful, but for me it was flat. Only the very end had any excitement to it at all.
Karen B. (Pittsburgh, PA)
Yorkshire Mystery Extremely Satisfying Read
Felt that the opening chapter of Sara Foster's debut mystery could have been much more successful in drawing the reader into the story of the disappearance of Grace's husband. Felt she could've done so if she had included some scenes of them together before jumping 1 year into the future in the second chapter. Otherwise, I very much enjoyed her novel. Loved that the ending came as a complete surprise. I would definitely recommend this to others.
Carol J. (Isle, MN)
Mystery on the Moors
I very much enjoyed the plot of this debut novel. Was not as predictable as many mysteries. The characters and setting were intriguing. The author transported me to this small town in England and did make me feel one with the main character. Would very much recommend the book to others. Looking forward to Sara Foster's next novel.