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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compellingly readable
Lila is mourning the loss of her infant baby when she receives a letter informing her that she has inherited a cottage tucked away in the remote countryside of the Peak District in Northern England. She has no idea who has bequested the cottage to her, but when she visits it she feels a connection to the area and decides to live in the cottage and renovate it, leaving...
Published 8 months ago by Julia Flyte

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow Year
In the present day Lila and Tom live busy lives, with inner heartbreak, when Lila unexpectedly gets bequeathed a property. In 1980 Ben, Carla, Kat, Simon and Mac are finishing up at University and about to head out into the world. On a hot day in their last summer together, they head up to the Lakes.

It doesn't take long to work out the most immediate...
Published 9 months ago by Keen Reader


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compellingly readable, 10 Dec 2013
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
Lila is mourning the loss of her infant baby when she receives a letter informing her that she has inherited a cottage tucked away in the remote countryside of the Peak District in Northern England. She has no idea who has bequested the cottage to her, but when she visits it she feels a connection to the area and decides to live in the cottage and renovate it, leaving her husband behind in London. Whilst the cottage has obviously been empty for many years, there are signs that it was inhabited and that the residents left in a hurry.

Jump back 30 years. Kat and her four best friends have finished university when they discover the cottage by chance and decide to spend a year living in it, subsisting off the land. Kat has long been in love with Simon, the "leader" of the group and she is hoping that one day that affection will be returned. However when her sister arrives, the dynamics of the group will be irrevocably changed.

This is a very cleverly constructed novel in which each chapter alternates between the past and the present and which builds in tension as the tones darkens. The author has written it in such a way that you guess what's going to be revealed, but only shortly before each reveal happens. Sometimes the clues are buried in Lila's story and sometimes in Kat's. Having said that, I did feel that the final twists were apparent from about the 75% mark. I didn't like it as much as Secrets of the Tides, but I still found it compellingly readable. If you enjoy Kate Morton's writing, you're bound to also like Hannah Richell.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow Year, 20 Nov 2013
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
In the present day Lila and Tom live busy lives, with inner heartbreak, when Lila unexpectedly gets bequeathed a property. In 1980 Ben, Carla, Kat, Simon and Mac are finishing up at University and about to head out into the world. On a hot day in their last summer together, they head up to the Lakes.

It doesn't take long to work out the most immediate connection between the two timelines, but the story flows along well. There are plenty of twists and turns in the narratives as the story slowly unfolds for the reader with the timelines beginning to move towards a convergence.

I enjoyed this story, but I found it hard to feel empathy for what are basically a whole lot of rather unlikeable people, in both timelines. By the end of the story, I felt a lot of anger towards one character in particular, or actually two, who basically ruined a whole lot of lives for their own selfish desires. So while the story was a good read, and I wanted to know what happened, I really felt angry about the characters and what they did. May sound a little vague, but I don't want to put spoilers.

So at the end of it all, I wasn't sure whether 3 or 4 stars, so plumped for 3.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charming novel, 1 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Kindle Edition)
The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell
This novel is written with a style that bring out the beauty of those many places in England that never feature on a tourist trail - thank god. The central 'character' is the cottage and its surrounding area: a place of beauty in most seasons with unforgiving tendencies in harsher times. The latter is true of so many of the characters too.

This is a story of hedonistic young graduates who choose to free themselves from the Rat Race by squatting in an abandoned cottage and living off the land (with a little financial cushioning but few survival skills). A regime was born. Sadly, several characters were not fully developed and an opportunity to understand how the dynamics of this fiefdom came to pass was lost. A Squire in the making, a happy couple to cook and tend garden, a housekeeper to pander to and support M'Lord's whimsies and one good egg to be a general dogsbody..... All that was needed was a fairy princess.

Set in two time frames, this sad story winds through the hardships, tragedies and petty triumphs the cast of players knit for themselves. No one is having a good time and angst lingers in many corners. Yet despite this, the storyline captivates. One can guess many of the plot lines long before they unfold but this does not distract from the desire to experience it happening.

A charming book that held me. The description of the topography stirred my imagination and brought back many places of obscure beauty I visited as a young mother married to an 'off the road' explorer. Would I read it again? No, but it will linger with me a while. Would I have picked it for myself? Probably not but I am glad I read it. A Book Club triumph that has enriched my reading life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Summertime Reading 3.5 Stars, 19 Jun 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Hardcover)
No Spoilers.

Interior designer Lila, married to Tom, and living in London, is suffering after the loss of Milly, their baby daughter. Milly was born prematurely after Lila fell down the stairs and Lila cannot forgive herself for the accident, especially as she can only remember part of what happened. Husband Tom, finding it difficult to cope with the tragedy and with Lila's grief, throws himself into his work, making Lila feel alone in her unhappiness. When she unexpectedly inherits a remote, tumbledown cottage situated next to a lake in the beautiful Peak District, Lila, hoping to find some peace and solace, and needing some time away from Tom, decides to take on the challenge of renovating the old stone property. There she meets William Mackenzie, who farms the land a few miles away from Lila's cottage, and William's kind, but confused mother, Evelyn. In time, the beauty and solitude of Lila's new surroundings, begin to work their magic - however, Lila is having troubling dreams and flashbacks, and she is also beginning to realize that although she was supposed to be alone at the time of the accident, she is now aware that there was someone else in the house. But who?

Thirty years earlier, on an intensely hot summer's day, five student friends: Simon, Kat, Mac, Carla and Ben find a remote, derelict old stone cottage, situated next to a beautiful lake in the Peak District. Simon, a good-looking, charismatic young man and the natural leader of the group, convinces the others to take the opportunity to drop out of the rat race for a while, and have an attempt at self-sufficiency. Kat, who is secretly in love with Simon agrees readily, and the others, tempted by the beauty of their surroundings, agree to fall in with Simon's plan. At first, all goes surprisingly well, but soon Simon begins to detrimentally exert his power over the others and, when an unexpected visitor arrives at the cottage, the group dynamics alter considerably and then tragedy follows. (No spoilers and there is a lot more for prospective readers to discover).

Moving smoothly between the two periods of time, Hannah Richell deftly weaves her storylines together and pulls the reader right into her tale of secrets, lies, guilt and betrayal; she also builds a feeling of increasing unease throughout her narrative. Although not entirely convincing in places, and the amount of characters in the two stories means that we do not get to know any of them really well, I seemed to be just in the right mood for this and read the entire book in one very lazy session in the garden. With some beautiful descriptions of the Peak District, some lovely details of the home Lila creates from her inherited tumbledown dwelling, and a twist in the tale right at the end, this story makes for an enjoyable holiday, down-time or bedtime read, and I could also see this being made into an entertaining TV series.

3.5 Stars.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this book reads like a brilliant puzzle, 15 July 2013
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Hardcover)
Five friends stumble upon a remote cottage and decide to stay and live there. 30 years later Lila arrives at the same cottage after being sent a key by an anonymous person. Who sent the key and which secrets does the cottage hide?

This book is one of the best books I have ever read. The suspense that the author creates is amazing and nail biting. I was drawn to the story from the first few pages onwards.

Life at the cottage is brilliantly described. From the beauty of the surroundings during the summer season to the hard and cold struggle during the winter months.

Every alternate chapter tells the story of the five friends and then jumps to 30 years later and captivates the reader with Lila's "adventure". I raced through the book and couldn't wait to find out if and how the stories are connected.

The book reads like a puzzle. Little bits fall into place here and there the further go on with the book. The author has such a talent for leaving little hints. More than once did I read a page twice and thought "no way". You'll have to read the book to understand what I mean :-) .
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE SHADOW YEAR., 19 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
Eight months and 81 books into 2014 this has to be one of my favourite reads.

In many ways similar to her debut novel, Secrets Of The Tides, in that in this, her second novel, she once again moves from one decade to another exploring the themes of jealousy, love, loss and the power of secrets to great effect.

Interweaving what is essentially two stories (one set during the 80's, the other three decades later) at the centre of which is an isolated cottage, the author does an amazing job of building the suspense layer upon layer (my how she reels the reader in), of developing the complex body of characters, in what is a novel of intrigue and great emotional intensity.

What I actually enjoyed most about this exquisitely written book was the characterisation. Wonderfully written, without giving anything away, I loved the way the author explored how a charismatic young man's dream became an obsession as what started as a 'social experiment' takes increasingly ominous turns.

One of those novels I'll wax lyrical about for a long time to come. I have high hopes for Hannah Richell's next novel.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with a brilliant twist at the end, 2 Oct 2013
By 
David H J Ashdown (Wales) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
Five students take over a ramshackle lake side cottage for a year and then mysteriously abandon it. Thirty years later it's left to Lila under secretive circumstances. Watching the story unravel in alternate paragraphs , set three decades apart , is both gripping and fascinating and the end twist is worth waiting for. A novel that makes you read it in one sitting. Brilliant, if you only read one book this month make it this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair read , starts off well but doesn't quite deliver but readable, 25 April 2014
This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
Started off very promising , lots of suspense, however the way the plot develops is a little of an anti climax . It is hard to feel sympathy for one of the character who causes a lot of pain due to selfishness and maybe something else .Nevertheless the book does keep you hooked to the end . The big reveal is a bit dark but generally not a bad read at all. Read in about 3 days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly plotted, 11 Jan 2014
By 
Nicola "nicola_in_southyorks" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
The Shadow Year is set both in the current day and in 1980. In the current day, Lila and Tom are dealing with the loss of their child. Lila is struggling to cope and the sanctuary of a remote cottage in the Peak District is just what she needs. In 1980, five friends turn up at the same cottage and decide to spend time there. But relationships within the group soon start to fracture.

This is a very well-plotted book that kept me guessing throughout, right up to the very end. There's a lot of description of the area around the cottage, maybe a little more than I personally needed, but I found that once I was into the book I was able to gloss over that a bit to get to the story.

I liked the two time frames that ran alongside each other. I knew they were linked and I had inklings as to how, but it all unfolded gradually and the author really was quite clever in how she held back until it was just the right time to divulge all. This is a very enjoyable read about self-sufficiency, jealousy, grief, love and friendship.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Shadow Year (Paperback)
Fantastic reading cannot put it down. I have to limit to 2 chapters an evening otherwise book would be gone. So good bought as a gift for someone else also
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The Shadow Year
The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell (Hardcover - 20 Jun 2013)
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