Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Shadowed Evil by Alys Claire

First Sentence: He lay in his lonely little bed, curled up into the smallest shape he could contrive.

Sir Josse d’Acquin and Helewise travel to the home of Josse’s elderly uncle, a place where Josse always felt the house welcome and sheltered the family. However, his uncle Hugh appears to be dying, Hugh’s heir has married a woman who has disrupted the spirit of the house and who, in spite of the heir planning to adopt her son, she virtually ignores the boy. The unpleasant feelings only increase with the appearance of a badly injured stranger.

There is actually a wonderful prologue that perfectly describes a child’s fear, yet comfort derived by sensing the spirit of one’s surroundings. This provides a wonderful touch of mysticism to the story…or not…depending upon whether one believes that a structure can take on the energy of those who have lived there. This is followed by a very good introduction of Josse, the members of his family, and their--and his--history.

Claire is a very descriptive writer. One feels as though one is traveling with the characters, both out in the land or throughout the house. Yet, one does wish there were drawings and diagrams of the manor house. She also brings the characters to life. There are times where one may feel a bit frustrated with Helewise, but it is important to not judge her by our time, and to remember her past, which we learn, but the family never fully does. Again, this is in keeping with both the character and the time as pride and vanity would be out of her keeping.

A Shadowed Evil” is filled with an appropriately nasty character just the right creepiness, lots of very good twists, and a satisfactory resolution.

A SHADOWED EVIL (Hist Mys/Para-Josse/Helewise-England-1212) – G+
Claire, Alys – 16th in series
Severn House – Sept 2015

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