Title: These Fleeting Shadows
Author: Kate Alice Marshall
Number of Pages: 336
Year Published: 2022
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Cover Art/Designer: Kristie Radwilowicz
Genre: Young Adult ~ Mystery ~ Thriller ~ Horror ~ Romance ~ LGBT+ characters
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: CW/TW Adult has sexual feelings towards a minor – it’s acted upon and a pregnancy comes of it. Violence, bad doctors, terrible use of a medical degree, not getting consent for a very intense surgery on a minor. Child death, bones, digging up of bones. Manipulation (from family). Given by blog tour company: Harm to children/death of children – non-graphic and not on the page, but prevalent in backstory & plot, Death & dying, Body horror (surreal, not gory), Violence (against MC & others), Alcoholism (not a main character), Discussion of a lobotomy performed in the 1800s
The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out in a bid for an inheritance that will leave Helen Vaughan either rich…or dead.
Helen Vaughan doesn’t know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven’t spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she’s shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she’ll be left with nothing.
There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen’s dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night?And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?
With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.
Thank you very much to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on this blog tour! I absolutely loved reading this book and if you want to see the others on the blog tour you can go look here.
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the blog tour company (TBR and Beyond Tours) and the publisher (via Netgalley) in return for a free and honest review and a spot on the blog tour. The summary and book details are taken from Goodreads. The featured image and other blog tour information (purchase links, author information etc) are provided by TBR and Beyond Tours. Any opinions expressed are my own. This is a spoiler-free review with slight references towards the plot.
Hello, new best book ever. Definitely a favourite of this year. Amongst many. I think I’ll have to sort them by age range and category. This for sure would fall under the YA Horror category. And book by an author I’ve read before. I very much recommend it. And all of Marshall’s other books (even though I’ve only read two books now).
Ever since I read Rules for Vanishing some time back (maybe 2019?) I knew that this author would be a firm favourite of mine. She once again proved it with These Fleeting Shadows and will further prove it when I get to her other books.
The blurb for this is The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out. I still haven’t watched Knives Out but Hill House is one of my favourite TV series so I had high hopes it would deliver on that – it absolutely did and much more. It actually made me want to rewatch Hill House straight away (which I’ve done now 😄).
The writing was absolutely phenomenal. It drew me in, it kept me captivated throughout the entire book. I never felt bored, I never felt like the writing was boring me. I always thank the book thoroughly when the writing doesn’t bore me – you will too when you go from a boring book to an exciting one.
Helen is the main character of the story and I love her so much. There was a moment at the start of the book where I thought I wouldn’t really like her but that quickly turned around and I did love her immensely. She’s a strong character, stronger than she thinks she is. She’s curious (but also how curious do you want to be in a horror story?) and that helps her to be a stronger character. She’s a bit apprehensive when it comes to relationships (who could blame her, though) although she improves at that as the book carries on.
The house is also the other main character in this. Which might not make sense but if you’re familiar with a lot of haunted house stories (or have watched The Haunting of Hill House), you know what I mean. The house has a rich history (albeit bad), there’s a lot of stories that have happened in the house, countless of people who have lived and died in that house. That all makes it as much of a main character as Helen. It has its own agendas, its own story to tell. It has secrets that it reveals to us and to Helen.
The family and the family dynamics that we get in this book was written so well. You get to know the family and (eventually) the secrets, but there’s still so much you don’t know, or could know about the family. All that just adds to the mysteriousness of everything – the book, the house, the plot – so well. Also I would not like to be in this family. Married in, biologically, legally adopted, basically part of the family (like you have your preferred mug and you do chores).
As I did with Rules for Vanishing, I read most of These Fleeting Shadows late at night – as in after midnight. I recommend and I also do not recommend doing that. It’s scary and the writing and the plot just make it so much scarier so maybe don’t read it late at night? But also to me it just elevated the reading experience that much more. I also listened to the Hill House soundtrack while I was reading the book, to further push the vibes of Hill House. That I do recommend – it was quite fun.
Bryony was an absolute delight to meet and get to know. I’m always for the quirky characters, the ones that other people always think of as weird – probably because that that’s me. She knew who she was and she wasn’t afraid to just be herself, plus she encouraged Helen to be more of herself too.
The book is more than just a family and a house and secrets. It’s about knowing yourself. Who you are on the outside versus you on the inside and how you portray yourself to be. It’s about not letting other people decide who you are. It’s about acknowledging who you are.
I think when I reread this book I’ll get the audio. And mostly read it at night. That for sure will up the scariness by a couple of notches. Is that a good thing? Probably not but I’m looking forward to it.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound
About the Author: Kate Alice Marshall is the author of young adult and middle grade novels, including I AM STILL ALIVE, RULES FOR VANISHING, and THIRTEENS.
She lives outside of Seattle with her husband, two dogs named Vonnegut and Octavia, and two kids. They all conspire to keep her on her toes.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
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