The Shadow House by Anna Downes – Review

About The Book

THE BONES COME FIRST… 
When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind.

NEXT, A DOLL…
Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex’s teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own.

AND THEN THE BLOOD. 
Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs – before it engulfs them whole…

A tense and haunting tale of one mother’s fight for her family, in a place where no one can hear you scream. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I thoroughly enjoyed Anna Downes debut novel so was looking forward to reading this new book. It concerns Alex, mother of a rebellious teenage son, Ollie, and baby daughter Kara who has run from an abusive relationship to what she hopes is a new start. She has found an eco village and it should have provided everything she needed. But almost immediately strange things happen, the children aren’t settled and she  is too exhausted to cope. Plus not all of her neighbours are welcoming. At the same time there were flashbacks to Renee and her family where there are strong similarities to some of what Alex was facing. I have to admit that I had little liking or sympathy for Ollie, but did for Gabriel, Renee’s son. However my thoughts regarding Ollie changed the more I read and knew more about him. 

Much of the time I can workout which way a storyline is going, I had no idea with this book. It’s not really full of twists, instead there are secrets that are gradually revealed and there was more than just Ollie who I liked and understood more as I read. 

It’s original with a perfect setting that was also different to most.

The Safe Place by Anna Downes – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A BEAUTIFUL HOME MIGHT HIDE DANGEROUS SECRETS

Emily Proudman has been offered the chance of a lifetime – leave her messy London life, move to a beautiful estate in France and help her boss’ wife take care of their daughter, Aurelia. It seems like the perfect opportunity to start again.

But once there, Emily soon starts to suspect that her charismatic new employers aren’t telling her the whole truth. That there are even dangerous secrets hidden beneath the glamourous facade. 

Rather than throwing herself headline into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool, Emily can’t help but ask questions. Why have the family been moved to this isolated house so far from home? Why does Aurelia refuse to speak or be touched? Why are there whispers in the night? 

The only problem is, the more Emily knows, the less chance there is she will ever be able to leave . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Emily is down on her luck. A failed actress, sacked from her temping job and soon to be evicted from her home. She isn’t close to her adoptive parents and doesn’t know what to do to escape her quandary. But then her ex boss appears, like a knight in shining armour and offers her the chance of a lifetime. To move to France, and be a companion to his wife and child. To Emily it is a chance to escape and she doesn’t mind that she can’t tell anybody her whereabouts or that she has to sign NDAs. She is just ecstatic, and when she sees her new home and builds up a good relationship with Nina and Aurelia she couldn’t be happier. But as Emily gets more settled she realises not everything is as it seems.

I didn’t think of this book as twist driven but there were a few surprises. The flashbacks at the end of certain chapters added to the intrigue and made me think about what might have occurred in Nina and Scott’s past. I thought I knew what had happened but I was completely wrong. 

Emily was a character who I didn’t warm to straightaway. At first I thought her to be petulant and self pitying but seeing her relationship development with Aurelia and the way she reacted when she realised what was happening in the family home I appreciated her more. 

The Safe Place is perfect for that holiday read.