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The Double Shadow [Paperback]

Sally Gardner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 2014

Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her 17th birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan.

Against the tense backdrop of the Second World War Sally Gardner explores families and what binds them, fathers and daughters, past histories, passions and cruelty, love and devastation in a novel rich in character and beautifully crafted.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Indigo (6 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780620365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780620367
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,192,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


If you fancy delving into something a bit different, look no further than this dark and dreamy '30s-set London novel by award-winning British writer Sally Gardner...A thrilling read! (CLOSER) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

London 1937: 17 year old Amaryllis tries to free herself from the terrifying double shadow of her childhood and forge her own future, but she is trapped in a memory machine created by her father.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Memory Machine 31 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Double Shadow is Sally Gardner's latest novel, targeted at older teens and one of the first releases from Orion's new young adult imprint, Indigo. I've read and loved most of Sally's previous books including the excellent I, Coriander and The Silver Blade as well as her wonderful books for younger children which are reread frequently in our household. This new novel is a new venture for Sally as it is aimed at an older age group and is, in the author's own words, " a family sci-fi saga".

Our story begins in 1937 with Amaryllis Ruben, an impetuous, spoilt, almost 17 yr old, being expelled from yet another school. Her father, widowed millionaire Arnold Ruben, hopes to atone for past errors and neglect by bestowing on his only child the "memory machine" which should erase all painful memories and preserve himself and Amaryllis in an alternate world safe from the impending war. However this gift ends up being more of a poisoned chalice and there are nefarious plots afoot to use the device for evil ends.

Sally Gardner has a wondrous almost wizardly way with words, using simple prose infused with touch of magic. Her characters are so vividly present, you can appreciate her talent as an illustrator complementing her skills as a storyteller. The result is a very special novel which sounds like it's very much set in the 1930s yet remains accessible to modern readers. It's a story about relationships, between father and daughter, mother and son, man and wife. It's about love in all its shapes and forms. It's also about memories and how they can both comfort and haunt us, having a life of their own as a double shadow of our own reality.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a uniquely different YA novel 31 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've just finished The Double Shadow and have been left with this feeling that I've read a very clever book but yet I can't quite put into words what I think about it and it might be one of those that I have to keep mulling over for a while while I get it clear in my head.

For me this book had two parts. During the first part the reader meets Amaryllis a lonely teenage girl who lives in a creepy old house with her father. She is on the brink of being chucked out of her latest school and quite confused in herself as she is unable to remember most of her earlier memories. During the first section of this book you get to know her as a character along with all her idiosyncrasies meeting along the way some of the different characters you get to know as the book goes on. During this part you start to find out about her father's memory machine which he built to protect Amaryllis from having to live in a world of bad memories.

The section second of the book launches when something goes wrong with the memory machine trapping several characters within it and setting off a huge fire that engulfs the family home. From here on out the story gets more and more complex as the characters inside and outside of the machine start to explore what has happened. During this part of the story you get a real insight into what it means to have a family and what life was like living during the war. You also get a good idea about loss and how it affects people.

This book is a uniquely different offering in the current YA market which is beautifully written and absorbingly clever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Double Shadow 9 Nov 2011
I'd previously read and enjoyed Sally Gardner's two historical novels, 'The Red Necklace' and 'The Silver Blade', so had been looking forward to her new offering immensely. This book is very different to anything else she's written but in a good way. Trust me, in a really good way! I enjoyed it so much that even after having finished reading it over a week ago, I still can't stop thinking about it. The plot is so detailed and complex that you'll want to pick it up and re-read it again as soon as you've finished.

What's so amazing about 'The Double Shadow' is the absolute uniqueness and originality of the story, which has sprung from an imagination that I'm seriously envious of. It's totally different from anything else I've read that it really stands out from any other offering currently gracing the shelves in bookshops. The plot and the characters are both multi-layered and as I was reading it, I continually felt that there was always something else waiting to be uncovered.

The first half of the book introduces the reader to Amaryllis Rubens around which most of the pivotal events of the story revolve. Having been expelled from school following an incident with an older man, 16 year old Amaryllis returns home to live with her father. Mixed-up and confused, she wants nothing more than her father's love and attention but he's more interested in spending time working on his invention - a memory machine housed within a picture palace in the grounds of Warlock Hall. With the threat of war coming, he wants to use the machine to not only wipe away Amaryllis's bad memories but to also keep her safe and ensure that everything remains the same for her, even with war on the horizon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Adult Version
Prospective purchasers should be aware that the paperback edition of The Double Shadow, published on 6 February 2014, includes some additional adult material and is not suitable... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Susan Fitzroy
4.0 out of 5 stars The double shadow
This is an amazing book, I have always loved Sally Gardner's books. This not being an exception, I love the mystery and the emotion in the story. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Emma Broomfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Epically Brilliant
Originally posted on! Visit for more reviews!
The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner is a epic-ally brilliant book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Smithjamest
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
Unusual, creative and beautifully written.
The plots are interwoven with care. I don't understand the reviewer who was cross about the ending. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Lilycat
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing ending!
I loved the book, couldn't put it down but was furious when if ended so abruptly leaving me to fill in the details. Read more
Published 15 months ago by HannahFudge
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and surprising
I have read Sally Garner's other books ("I Coriander" was wonderful, a real gem) and I thought I knew what to expect from this author. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
I'd had the Double Shadow recommended to me several times before I finally read it. The fact that it was published in hardback had something to do with it, because I'm a great fan... Read more
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by ML Jensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly mind-boggling
Wow. Where do i start! This book is really fantastic. It does have some hard topics in it so definitely shouldn't be for under 16's, but its really so descriptive and abstract! Read more
Published on 18 Mar 2012 by Emma Woodhouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Inception without the special effects
This magnificent book is something like a cross between Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Read more
Published on 30 Jan 2012 by Ioannis Glinavos
5.0 out of 5 stars A complex read that repays the effort.
Beautiful, haunting and evocative, this is a book to really lose yourself in. Recommended for teens upwards.

This novel is extraordinary. Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2011 by Mrs. B. S. Kemp
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