Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Sorchia Reviews Shadow House by Anna Downes

Alex and her two kids are running away from an abusive relationship. Pine Ridge is supposed to be a safe ecovillage, a place where she can settle in with like-minded people and provide a healthy way of life for her kids.

But of course, it’s not.

In parallel tales set in Australia, Anna Downes tells the story of two mothers: one who loses her son and the other who is trying desperately to save hers.

Ok, you’ve got me when a kid goes missing. I settle into those stories like a dark cloud.

Alex and her two children, Oliver and Kara, hope to find peace after a series of unhappy situations. Alex hasn’t been as wise as she should have been in her choice of partners. She knows it and Oliver, her teenage son, reminds her as only a teenager can. Oliver is a teenage boy who is disgruntled that he’s been asked to move away from his friends. Kara is teething. Alex is exhausted.

Alex is charmed by the idea of Pine Ridge—and equally charmed by the guy who runs the place. But she’s just escaped a relationship and she’s not ready to jump into another one. Probably. When someone puts a dead bird on her doorstep, a creepy little kid who may or may not be a tiny demon on a bike tells her about the local legend of a witch who steals children. Silly, right. Witches don’t do that anymore, do they?

In a parallel story, Renee and Michael Kellerman and their son Gabriel struggle to keep their farm. A dead cat, a family row, and suddenly Gabe is gone without a trace. He was never seen again. Did he run away? Or is the truth more sinister?

When Alex learns more about Gabe’s disappearance, the bizarre events leading up to his disappearance are being repeated—only Oliver may be the target this time. She decides she must find the underlying cause of it before things get worse.

What works:

High-class character development going on here! I like Alex, and I feel for her as she suffers the trials and tribulations of raising a baby and a teenager all by herself.

The two plot-lines twist and turn and yet complement each other nicely.

A pervasive creepiness that I love—The combination of this light as air ecovillage and the weight of tragedy on the property gives this story just enough darkness.

What I wasn’t so fond of:

The ending. It’s dark but I was hoping for an even darker resolution—the buildup is there. I just didn’t feel it delivered all its potential though the end does answer all the questions that arise. You can’t have everything, and this may be just my personal preference for freakiness getting in the way.

Four out of five. A well-written read that gave me nice shivers. I highly recommend this author.

Shadow House will be released April 5, 2022, but is available for preorder now. Visit Anna Downes’ Amazon Author Page for more info.

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