Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Shadowed Evil by Alys Clare

Opening Sentences: He lay in his lonely little bed, curled up into the smallest shape he could contrive. He was six years old, and so scared that he was quite sure he was going to wet himself. She would be so angry if he did. She would probably do what she did last time and push his face into the stinky sheets, as if he was a puppy that had made a mess on the floor. He must get up and reach under the bed for the piss pot. He knew he had to. But he alsoknew there was a monster under the bed.

Synopsis: Sir Josse d’Acquin and Helewise are summoned to Southfire Hall, where Josse’s elderly uncle, Hugh, lies dying, surrounded by his children. But the pair soon discovers that Hugh’s ill health is not the only cause of distress in the house: for Hugh’s son and heir, Herbert, has taken an unpleasant new wife, the widowed Lady Cyrille. Josse and Helewise are distracted by the discovery of an injured young man on the road outside on the evening of their arrival, but the longer they remain in the house, the more they feel that something is very wrong. What happened to Josse’s cousin Aeleis, who no one speaks of? Where is Lady Cyrille’s small son? And why do they both feel as if the house itself is alive – and threatened by approaching evil?

Review by Mirella Patzer / History and Women

When Sir Josse d’Acquin and Helewise visit his beloved uncle Hugh, they are shocked to find him in ill health. In fact, he is dying. Worse yet, Hugh has married a woman who is cold and callous, especially in her treatment of a small six year old boy who will become Hugh's heir. The child is terrorized by a monster who haunts him at night. All is not well in the home. Something is amiss. The unpleasantness only worsens when a badly injured stranger is brought into the home in an effort to save his life. All these subplots are slowly weaved together to create a wonderfully creative gothic style mystery that kept me madly turning the pages.

I've never read any books by this author, but I will in the future because she has hooked me with this one. She is an adept author who knows how to keep conflict and mystery building from beginning to end. Her descriptions of characters and surroundings are vivid and easily envisioned while reading. I especially loved the complex characters because they are never what they initially appear to be. If you love great villains, one you truly become emotionally involved with, then this book will surely satisfy. This is a wonderful mystery and you don't need to read the earlier books in the series to enjoy it. Highly recommended. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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