Release date: March 21, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
What is it about the coast that attracts people running from their past?
When Olivia moves to Port Townsend, her marriage is floundering, and her life is in pieces. She doesn’t know if things with her husband Mark are truly over, or quite why the phone call she longs for on her daughter’s birthday will never come.
Joining a letter-writing club seems like a harmless decision. But when she meets Ned, an ex-soldier badly wounded in Afghanistan, this unlooked-for friendship revives unexpected emotions and memories she’d rather forget.
Can Olivia find the courage to confront what she’s hiding from and finally begin to heal the wounds that have torn her life apart? From the bestselling author of After You Left comes a story about finding hope in second chances.
Whenever I read a book from a new to me author I’m always excited of course, but also oddly nervous as I’m never quite sure what to expect. The description of this one appealed to me, I got a Catherine Ryan Hyde sort of vibe from it and while that’s somewhat fitting, Mason has a unique style that is all her own. This was so much more than I expected, in a good way, this had depth and heart and was written in such a pretty style, I’m a new fan of the author now!
It’s clear from the start that Olivia is troubled and running from something, it’s not just her strained marriage to her husband, Mark or even just her issues with her daughter, you get the sense that it’s something deeper and despite this not being a mystery, that aspect kept me guessing throughout. I wanted to know what had happened to Olivia in her past, what had caused her pain, enough pain that she fled her home to live someone brand new. She was a complex character for sure, I found her fascinating and by the time I finished the book and everything came together, it was a lightbulb moment for me, everything made sense suddenly.
Besides Olivia and Mark there are a handful of secondary characters that added another dimension to the story. Beth is the woman who owns the local coffee shop/bookstore and Ned is an ex soldier with his own demons. Olivia’s developing relationships with both characters were telling, both because they were all harboring guilt and murky histories, but also because of how all three of them helped each other deal with their issues. I learned a lot about each character based on their interactions with each other and to see relationships being newly formed that weren’t romantic was a surprising treat.
This had some heavy themes that I won’t get into because I don’t want to spoil things, this is not a light read, it’s a thought provoking one. It’s fast paced and I read it quickly (even for me) because I was so desperate to find out the secrets Olivia was carrying and it paid off in the end, big time!
The Shadow Between Us in three words: Lyrical, Emotional and Moving
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.