Book Review: BENEATH THE SHADOWS by Sara Foster

Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: June 5, 2012
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

In this thrilling gothic suspense debut by Sara Foster in the tradition of Rosamund Lupton and Sophie Hannah, a young mother searches Yorkshire’s windswept moors for the truth behind her husband’s mysterious disappearance.


When Grace’s husband, Adam, inherits an isolated North Yorkshire cottage, they leave the bustle of London behind to try a new life. A week later, Adam vanishes without a trace, leaving their baby daughter, Millie, in her stroller on the doorstep. The following year, Grace returns to the tiny village on the untamed heath. Everyone—the police, her parents, even her best friend and younger sister—is convinced that Adam left her. But Grace, unable to let go of her memories of their love and life together, cannot accept this explanation. She is desperate for answers, but the slumbering, deeply superstitious hamlet is unwilling to give up its secrets. As Grace hunts through forgotten corners of the cottage searching for clues, and digs deeper into the lives of the locals, strange dreams begin to haunt her. Are the villagers hiding something, or is she becoming increasingly paranoid? Only as snowfall threatens to cut her and Millie off from the rest of the world does Grace make a terrible discovery. She has been looking in the wrong place for answers all along, and she and her daughter will be in terrible danger if she cannot get them away in time.


Adam and Grace Lockwood and their infant daughter, Millie, relocate to the tiny village of Roseby, located in the wild moors of North Yorkshire. Hawthorn Cottage, once owned by Adam’s grandparents, seems like the perfect place to start a new, peaceful life away from the hectic pace of London. Just days after arriving, the unthinkable happens – Adam goes missing while out walking Millie, and Grace finds Millie by their front door in her stroller all alone. Grace is confused and distraught. They were happy together, and Adam loved Millie, so why would he just abandon them as the police suggest? When the search party finds no clues after weeks of looking, Grace and Millie head back to London to wait.

A year passes with no word from Adam, so Grace decides to return to Hawthorne Cottage to try and solve the mystery herself. The not knowing is slowly eating away at her sanity, and besides, if Adam doesn’t come back, she needs to go through the decades of memories stored in the cottage so the place can be sold. As she searches for clues, she discovers old letters and family secrets meant to stay buried. The more clues she uncovers, the more she’s certain that something sinister happened to Adam rather than him simply running away.

BENEATH THE SHADOWS was an intriguing blend of mystery and eerie modern gothic, and I was entranced from the beginning to end. I enjoyed Ms. Foster’s engaging writing style. The story flowed smoothly, and she definitely kept me hanging on to every word. There couldn’t have been a more perfect setting than wintertime in the moors of Yorkshire. The stark landscape and heavy snow cutting them off from the rest of the world added to the eerie tone of the story, as well as the local legends of ghosts and unexplained occurrences. I easily connected with Grace’s character. She was brave, strong and determined to find closure for herself and her young daughter. I loved how the mystery of Adam’s disappearance played out to a surprising and emotional ending. BENEATH THE SHADOWS is sure to be an enjoyable read for fans of suspenseful mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.