Friday, March 27, 2015

In the Shadow of Winter by Lorna Gray

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: February 20, 2015

The Cotswolds. The relentless winter of 1947 holds post-war Britain in its deadly grip, and Eleanor Phillips rides out from her beleaguered Cotswold farm to rescue a stranger lost in the storm. But the near-dead man is no stranger and when she recognises Matthew Croft, the old ties of a failed romance tug deeply. Her sweetheart has returned from the war... Suspicion, the police and the panicked flight of a desperate man beat a path to her door. And with a wanted man hidden in her home and stealing back into her heart, Eleanor must be on her guard—for the net is closing in on them both and enemies are all around... 

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My head hit my desk fifty pages into Lorna Gray's In the Shadow of Winter. I don't mean to be dramatic, but it's true. I honestly looked at the page count and groaned. I was bored with the novel's sluggish pace and generic romantic premise. I was visibly frustrated and things didn't get much better moving forward. 

I suppose my major complaint is the lack of tension. I know HarperImpulse means to take women's fiction in new directions, but I can't say I fancied this particular excursion. This kind of story require tangible suspense and nothing about this piece played on my emotions. In point of fact, I found the narrative exceedingly predictable. Gray attempts a couple of curve balls, but I saw them coming and called each resolution long before it was actually revealed. 

The book is also very light on detail. I understand it's a romance, but I think Gray could have done a lot more in terms of developing the atmosphere and backdrop on which her story unfolds. Gray's is a superficial approach and that's fine, but the fact is, I can't see myself recommending this piece on its historic merit.

I'd high hopes going in, but the reality fell flat in my eyes. It's a nice beach read, but when push comes to shove, In the Shadow of Winter didn't deliver the sort of drama I both expect and crave. 

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He gave a laugh then, and leaned back in his chair. “You really are quite something these days, aren’t you? The girl I used to know would have been frightened, upset, confused, but no, not you – you’re livid.”
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