9781455554331_p0_v1_s600Reviewed by Meg Massey

Lila and her husband Tom have suffered a loss that no parents should ever have to endure: the loss of their child. So when Lila inherits a remote cottage, she sees it as a chance to restore the home and her now shattered life.

When she arrives at the home, she is startled at its appearance. She has a lot of work ahead of her, and as she begins, she uncovers items from its previous occupants which lead her to question who lived there before her, and why they left in such a rush.

Author Hannah Richell divides the novel between Lila’s story, and that of the house’s former occupants, recent college graduates Ben, Carla, Mac, Kat and Simon. Desperate to put off the real world for another year, the five classmates agree to live off the land and in the home together for one year. Things go well until an unexpected visitor disrupts the relationships in the house.

You’ll empathize with Lila as she navigates her time of grief, and struggles to find her way back to her husband, who is dealing with his own pain. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll struggle to understand characters like Simon and Kat, whose selfishness leads to an unthinkable tragedy.

The Shadow Year is a thrilling novel that features a number of twists and turns. What drove these five people away from this house, and how did Lila come to inherit the home? The answers will leave readers absolutely speechless. And one final twist stayed with me long after I turned the last page, just as I’m sure it will stay with you.

Warning: This novel does contain language, sexual content and drug use.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between on her blog.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Grand Central Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.