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Beneath the Shadows

Beneath the Shadows - Sara   Foster While not without it’s flaws, this novel kept me engaged enough to stick with it to the end. When they receive an inheritance of a small cottage, a young couple, Grace and Adam, come with their baby daughter, Millie, to a small village where Adam had spent some time as a youth. Not long after arriving, Adam goes missing while out on a walk with Millie. Finding a note from Adam, explaining that he wants to have a talk with her and not to leave, Grace is waiting for them to return from their walk, getting progressively more worried as time stretches on, when she sees a dark shape on the front steps. She goes to investigate and finds the baby in her pram but Adam nowhere in site. The case quickly goes cold and Grace leaves the village with Millie, retreating into the loving, protective arms of her family. After a year, Grace decides to head back to the cottage to try to find answers about her husband’s disappearance. With local ghost stories and legends read about in a book she found in the cottage filling her mind, strange things begin to happen. And so we begin. While the story has an interesting premise of a young woman who believes her missing husband could not possibly have just walked out on her, (as seems to be the prevailing attitude of authorities, friends and family), and is determined to find answers, it felt more like reading a mediocre high school play than a well conceived novel. Many of the situations were cliche for the genre: the creaking cellar door that mysteriously swings shut on its own (with no inside handle) trapping the heroine, the grandfather clock that creepily stops then randomly starts up again on its own showing the correct time, even a scratching sound in the wardrobe, etc. My biggest complaint was the cellar door issue. If you are going to put something like that into the story - it has to be consistent. When Grace first entered the cellar, it specifically mentions that she let the door swing shut behind her. This doesn’t seem to be a particular problem except to scare her a bit since she is down there with a handyman that she doesn’t know. There is no mention of any difficulty in getting out of the cellar then, yet the next time it is mentioned that she needs to prop the cellar door open, since there is no inside handle, potentially leaving her trapped if it accidentally swung shut on her again. Um- how did they get out last time? Anyway, that is the last time we hear about the problem of the cellar door even though there are many trips in and out of the cellar. It seems the author just forgot about that detail. The random discrepancies in minor details such as this left me irritated and less than enamored.