Hannah Brown never thought she’d have a best friend like Ellen Brecht. Ellen is everything she isn’t – beautiful, daring, glamorous and fierce. Growing up together in rural Cornwall, life seems perfect. But their idyllic childhood is shattered by obsession, betrayal and, ultimately, tragedy.
Hannah has tried for twenty years to forget what happened during that terrible summer. Then, one ordinary morning at work, she glimpses a woman who is identical to Ellen. Can it really be her? And has Ellen returned to forgive her – or to punish her?
What I Thought:
In Her Shadow is split between present day and flashback, to tell the story of Hannah and her best friend, Ellen and, although categorised as a romance, it works really well as a mystery novel too. The flashback scenes are described vividly, and with a lot of heart, until it starts to fall into suspicion, and the temperature skillfully changes from warm memories to something far, far colder as the two girls fall into jealousy and recrimination about the third member of their group.
The initial premise is interesting, with Hannah thinking she has seen a ghost, and when all is finally revealed, it is heartbreaking, but has a lot of hope for the future of all the surviving characters.
Having fond memories of Cornwall from childhood, it was great to read such a love letter to the county and I would love to visit again with my own children. Overall I really enjoyed the book, and would definitely pick up more of Louise Douglas’ work in future.
In Her Shadow is published by Black Swan.
Note: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher for review, but all opinions are, as ever, my own.