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|Print List Price:||CDN$ 19.95|
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Living in the Shadows Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this book, we meet Linda Booth a young nurse on a maternity ward, dealing with new mother's and fathers. Off duty she is a regular visitor to her Grandmother, whilst she questions her own relationship with her current boyfriend.
Victoria Schormann currently lives in Llamroth with her twin brother and her parents Mary and Peter. Mary was a nurse in a POW camp near where she lived in Ashford, after the war she moved to Wales. Peter had been a doctor and prisoner in the POW camp and after the war he came back and found Mary.
Victoria is bored and spoilt and decides to run away from home with a boy she met at a music concert. Seth is a hippie and runs a commune in the Manchester area, but Victoria finds the new lifestyle is more than she bargained for.
Mary's sister and one of her brothers still live in the Ashford area with their respective families, and while Mary's son Richard attends interviews at the University they all have their own challenges to face. Changes in what is socially accepted are harder for some to agree with, but they find themselves all drawn together when a dark figure from the past comes back and threatens the future.
This book can be read alone but I believe it would have more meaning to be read in sequence. I haven't read the second book and I struggled to place names and family relationships. This meant I didn't always follow the storyline as well as I expected. The book contained some good historical details and the themes were relevant to their day.
This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Honno Press
These books are very much an every day story of ordinary people, a bit like listening to The Archers or watching Emmerdale Farm before it lost its 'Farm'; I'm sure someone makes someone else a cup of tea every ten pages! They will hold a great nostalgic appeal for those who have lived through these times in similar circumstances, which explains their popularity. But they're more than just a real life drama; Judith Barrow has a clever and subtle way of showing the attitudes of the time amongst Mr and Mrs Average, rather than giving them a gloss, like a nostalgia programme on TV; this, for me, is their greatest strength.
So, the 1960s... it wasn't all free love, Union Jack minis and Twiggy; the atmosphere of the war years of the 1940s and the struggle back in the 1950s prevailed. The extended family in this book come face to the face with scenarios of the type that were brushed under the carpet fifty years ago, ie, homosexuality and domestic violence. The storyline I found the most interesting was that of eighteen year old Victoria, who experienced the sinister side of the hippie movement; it shows how young people, eager to take on new trends, can be manipulated and taken advantage of. Oddly enough, I had only recently watched a few TV programmes about Charles Manson and his strange commune of brainwashed young women; Victoria's tale rang all too true.
As for the older members of the family, the loss of one of them near the end made me feel very sad, even bringing a tear or two to my eye; this bit was very well written indeed. I suspect this is not the last we shall see of this family!
After writing emotionally moving books like Pattern of Shadow, Silent Trauma and Changing Patterns, Judith Barrow’s latest book is “ Living in the Shadows” - and it continues to keep the reader glued till the end !
The story is very well written and is narrated brilliantly ! Living in the Shadows took me into a completely different world. All the characters came alive as I started reading the book - the Schormanns, Howarths, Booth, Shuttleworths, worths - and their fears, insecurities, thoughts and actions – turned almost real !
The story is set between 16th September to 10th November, 1969, and it develops mostly around and in Ashford, Llamroth, Bradlow, Manchester. There are many chapters (89) and one wonders why ? I believe this creates a very nuanced picture of the moments in lives of people in the story. It helps to create a multi-dimensional and vivid picture for the reader to enjoy ! I liked this way of telling the story !
Living in the Shadows is a hard-to-put-down-till-over book ! An emotional drama not worth missing !
Well-chosen and effortlessly drawn characters show life in the 1960s, and in particular for the Schormann’s and their extended family, whose complex story reaches back two volumes.
An unpleasant encounter in the maternity ward right at the beginning of the book hints at the shadows of the title, but there are other storylines, such as the run-away daughter – which I found particularly well written.
The novel shows the clash of rural, old-fashioned and modern living ideas while maintaining a suspenseful dramatic curve in the drama part of this work of art.
Moving, engaging, rich and highly recommended.
His sister, Victoria, bored with life in Wales, makes a very unwise decision, swapping what she considers her restrictive lifestyle for another, much worse and very frightening one.
An extremely upsetting encounter for nurse Linda Booth, who is still traumatised by an incident from her childhood, at the beginning of the story suggests future distress. The rest of the cousins don’t escape trouble as the shadowy echoes of events from the past have unwelcome and heart breaking consequences for the whole family.
Told in short chapters, each focussing on an individual character, with an interlinking number of storylines merging into a suspenseful, sometimes quite sinister, narrative. Strong, realistic and mostly likeable characters, with one or two noticeable exceptions, all drive the story forward. Issues that were totally frowned upon during 1960s are dealt with, including same-sex relationships and domestic violence. Cults and commune living, the effect they had on the members and their families, are also explored. The coincidences that bring the threads together are worked into the story extremely well, culminating in the final dramatic and moving scenes.
Judith Barrow crafts a skilful tale without downplaying the reality of life for ordinary people in a northern 60’s town. The evocative and convincing descriptions of locations and characters, along with the dialogue, give credence to the story.