As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed to read it. Ever since I heard the story of Eyam on a school trip it fascinated me and somewhere I always wanted to revisit. In 1666 the village locked itself down to prevent the plague reaching others, a place of sacrifice for the greater good. For an author to take a place I loved and blend it into a book advertised as a must for Barbara Erskine fans, an author I adore, it seemed a match in heaven.
Book Review: A Shadow Beyond by Emma-Nicole Lewis
Title: A Shadow Beyond
Author: Emma-Nicole Lewis
Publisher: Twilight Moon Publishing
Genre: Historical Suspense Ghost Story
Release date: 28th Feb 2019
Purchase: Amazon UK
For fans of Kate Morton and Barbara Erskine, comes a thrilling and beautiful dual-time novel, set in the present and during 1665 – 1666, when plague broke out in the Peak District village of Eyam. A Shadow Beyond is a heart-rending and chilling tale of sacrifice, love, obsession and tragedy.
Lost in the folds of time, behind one village’s brave sacrifice, is the tragic and chilling secret of Thornycroft Hall….
Locked away in the top quarters of Thornycroft, a large house on the edge of the historic village of Eyam, is a centuries old secret.
Escaping the chaos of a complicated break up, Kate Saunders travels to the Peak District to stay with her Great Aunt Edie who has suffered a fall. Thornycroft is the perfect bolthole for Kate, peaceful and providing plenty of distance from her obsessive ex.
But when Kate stumbles across a diary and an ancient bogwood jewellery box in the top of the house, the tranquillity she had expected is shattered. She is shocked to discover that Edie has been tampering with the supernatural and as Kate reads the contents of the diary, the shadows of Thornycroft’s past begin to stir.
Kate becomes fascinated by the history of the house and the legacy of the villagers who made a brave yet devastating decision during the outbreak of plague. The more she discovers, the more she realises that, hidden behind Eyam’s tragic story, is a dreadful family secret.
Stalked by her ex and restless spirits who harbour a dark secret, Kate realises she’s in danger – not only from the living, but from the dead.
As the haunting intensifies and layers of time peel away, Kate starts to uncover a chilling truth that has remained buried for centuries…
This book was everything I wanted it to be. With a tagline mentioning one of my favourite authors, Barbara Erskine, I had high expectations and it did not disappoint. Eyam captured my imagination as a child, so walking through its streets and landscape in the present and past was fascinating. Both timelines drew me in, unlike some dual timeline books where there is always one you prefer more. I did not want the book to end.
It is a novel of two halves. In the present, Kate is dealing with a nasty breakup with fears of its ramifications and returning to Eyam to care for an aunt seems to be the ideal solution. The supernatural incidents and ghosts add tension into her life but are not full on horror, which adds credence to the plot and gives it a sense of authenticity. The sense of menace lurking in the shadows was well written, sending shivers down my spine. I loved the characters, especially Nick who has his own problems to cope with. The way the past and present collided was very much like Barbara Erskine’s style but the history was more accessible, allowing me to be immersed in both heroines lives easily.
I found Rachel’s story absorbing and though I figured out one twist from the start; I feel it was one to lead the reader deeper in to the plot to see if they were right. It brought the sad disturbing tale of Eyam and its experience with the plague to life with eerie parallels with our current pandemic with social distancing and isolation. It adds poignancy to Rachel’s tale and an urgency to her plight. The grief of the town was tangible, making it an emotional read.
Would I recommend?
Yes, I loved this book and the author’s style. The balance of a contemporary ghost story and historical fiction was perfect giving an emotional, spooky and disturbing read. This would be ideal to read in October when the evenings draw in. It is one for my Kindle forever shelf to reread in the future.
I am relieved Emma-Nicole Lewis has a back catalogue of novels I can add to my TBR.
Thanks to The Fiction Cafe for a copy to review and give my unbiased, and honest opinion. You have given me a new favourite author to follow.
Happy reading and stay safe!