'Summer's Shadow' by Anna Wilson
Review by Christopher Moore
Her mother's will states that Summer's legal guardian is her uncle Tristan: a man Summer has never even heard of before. Forced to leave her life in London, Summer moves to Tristan's creepy, ancient house in Cornwall. There she is met with indifference from him, open hostility from her cousin, and an aunt who has chosen to leave rather than to tolerate her presence.
Soon Summer comes to believe that the house may be haunted. But is it haunted by ghosts, or by the shadows of her family's past?
Scared and lonely, Summer begins to spend more and more time in the beautiful sheltered cove she discovers nearby. But she's not alone. A local boy frequents it too. Can Summer find first love and the answers to the mysteries of her new home with this good-looking boy who appears to be too perfect to be true?
This is a sweet book that's almost literary in style, telling the story of Summer after the death of her mother and her new life at Bosleven with her estranged family. Summer is a middle-of-the-road character. It's a pity that I read Clare Furniss' The Year of the Rat before this because Furniss really captures the essence of her narrator's, Pearl's, pain and grief with splashes of humour and a distinct voice that intrigues the reader. Summer's voice is a bit flat. I found it difficult to engage with her or pay attention to what was going on. I found myself reading a page and having to re-read it because I wasn't sure what happened. I couldn't focus. I think the reader would have benefitted from a first-person perspective from Summer's point of view.
The settings were well developed; the beach, Bosleven. Wilson anchors the reader in specific places that are beautifully described.
As I read the story, I wasn't sure what sort of story it would be. There were some supernatural elements that almost echoed Alyxandra Harvey's Haunting Violet but ultimately, the story is more in line with The Year of the Rat. The characters were OK. I wanted them all to be pushed a bit further.
Overall, it's a nice read but it's not the best book in this area that I've ever read.
Rating: 3/5 Stars ★ ★ ★
Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-four year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.
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