Author: Hannah Emery
Published: June 26th by Harper Impulse
In 1920s Blackpool, eleven year old Rose wanders away from her parents and has a unique gift bestowed upon her. This gift will leave a haunting legacy, seeping down through the generations…
Decades later, Louisa has a vision of her mother walking into the sea. This isn’t the first time it happens and it won’t be the last, but what she sees isn’t always what she wants. The rest of her life is spent trying to change the future that haunts her.
In present day Blackpool, Grace is going to be married someday. She knows this because she’s seen it; a vision of a white dress, daisies embroidered on the sleeves, the groom by her side, vowing to love her forever. Except the man in her premonition doesn’t belong to her- he belongs to her twin sister, Elsie.
Haunted by what they know and what they are afraid to find out, all three women must make a choice: in the face of certain destiny should you chase the outcome that’s “meant to be”, or throw away fate and choose your own future?
The story centers mainly on Elsie and Grace, their mother, Louisa and Louisa’s mother, Rose. I was swept along the currents of Secrets in the Shadows into three different timelines and the lives of three totally different women. Grace and Louisa are not only related by blood but also by the gift of seeing the future, but everything started with Rose. There were many notable similarities in Louisa’s and Grace’s personalities which was probably how the author planned them to be in the first place. Rose’s story served mostly as a base, a starting point to how the gift of seeing the future came about in the first place.
Shadows in the Shadows is also about how different choices made can have different outcomes. Rose made the choice which she thought was right at the moment because she couldn’t bear to leave behind her comfortable life. Louisa made her choice out of fear. The very same choice was passed down to Grace and with her gift, she was turning out to be maddeningly like her mother. In those three instances, those three women had succeeded in finding the one thing they longed for: true love. It’s interesting to see that even through all the years and times and lifestyles change, women still search for the partner meant for them.
The story also focuses on the childhood of Louisa and the twins. All three of them were brought up mainly by their mothers. The difficulties Rose and Louisa go through while bringing up their children was apparent, especially when the both of them have their own worries and they were both heartbroken. In the modern sense, I’d say that the both of them were battling depression and their own nightmares which they can’t tell others.
Grace was stuck between actually trusting the vision she had and following her heart. It was painful watching her struggle when she wasn’t even sure who she was in love with. At the same time, she wanted to patch things up with her twin sister, Elsie. They were twins and Grace missed the bond that tied them together. There were times in the story where I found Elsie a little too indifferent but other times, I can see the person she used to be.
I think that Noel was really a lovely guy; he was always ready to listen to Grace rants and voices her worries. Sending her a postcard every once in a while was pretty cute too. I wouldn’t mind having a good friend who’d send a hand-written letter or a postcard wherever they are. It is definitely better than emails and text messaging.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Throughout the entire story of Secrets in the Shadows, which was situated in Blackpool, I could distinctly see the sea. It has such a calming and mystifying effect on the story.