The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell is the She Reads Book Club Selection for May and yet another fantastic pick! The Shadow Year tells the story of Lila who loses her baby due to an accident that causes a premature delivery. Still grieving she has trouble moving forward with her life. She feels distanced from her husband and frustrated that he doesn’t understand. Underlying it all is her despair over not being able to remember what happened on that fateful day that she lost her baby.
Lila learns that she has inherited a country house after her father’s passing and decides to take a trip out there to take a look at the place. Seeing it and all the work that needs to be done Lila realizes that staying out at the house alone and renovating it is just what she needs to do. She is unprepared though for the secrets that this house holds and what she learns has the power to change everything she’s ever known or believed in.
The Shadow Year alternates between Lila in the present and a group of university grads in the past. Lila’s country house once housed this group of young people who decided they wanted to live off the land for a year. They knew that the pressures of the real world would soon take over their lives and they didn’t feel ready for it all yet. Without telling anyone they moved themselves into this deserted country house and set about learning ways to grow things, hunt, and prepare for the winter that was soon coming. All seemed to be going well but when people are cooped up together it isn’t long before personalities clash and for those university kids it ends with a tragedy that will affect the generations to come. While seemingly unconnected these two story lines merge together in shocking ways.
The Shadow Year is a beautifully written story that builds layer by layer enthralling its audience. I loved it! For readers of women’s fiction The Shadow Year is most definitely one I’d recommend. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author soon.
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The Shadow Year on Goodreads