Title: Season of Shadow and Light
Author: Jenn J. McLeod
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Opens: …Same dream, same time, same sweaty body reduced to a shivering mess…
Blurb: When it seems that everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with her six-year-old daughter, Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow. But stranded amid rising floodwaters on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there years earlier. Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but…are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?
My Thoughts: I have been seeing author Jenn J McLeod’s name being bandied around various book forums and blogs for a wee while now – always with great positive statements. So when I got the chance to review SEASON OF SHADOW AND LIGHT there was not one hesitation before jumping at the opportunity. And what a great story it is too, I became totally immersed.
Paige’s perfect life is disintegrating – she had a late in pregnancy miscarriage, which triggered a stroke, and her sense of taste and smell have gone which leads to her loosing her job as a food critic. Now she has discovered her husband was unfaithful. She may be well off and living in an upper middle class suburb with a wealthy husband. But she is not happy. When she finds an old photo of her now deceased mother, Nancy, she tracks down the small country town that the snapshot may have been taken at. Paige then decides to take a break and books a cabin next to the river in the town. Her aim is to find out more about her mother – as her early life is a complete mystery. Paige is puzzled by Alice’s totally negative reaction to this plan, but goes ahead anyway. A change in the weather and rising floods leave them marooned in Coolabah Tree Gully instead and the scene is set for past secrets to start unravelling. The reader does learn a few of the truths; however some of the details are not connected until much later in the book leaving the mystery ticking along nicely.
Even though Paige is the main character and the story is about her search for the truth about her mother’s past, which also creates the suspense for the story, I found my focus to be on Alice. She was a wonderfully complex character torn between her love of her adopted daughter, and her allegiance to her now dead partner Nancy. Alice knows the secrets but made a solemn vow on her soul mates death bed not to reveal them. Alice has been the sole carer of Paige since Nancy died when Paige was ten. She is terrified that the past will be revealed – and no good will come of it. Jenn McLeod does a terrific job with Alice – a woman with her back to the wall – her allegiances called into question and the terrible strain she is under while she battles with her conscience terrified that all she holds dear will be destroyed.
There are many themes in SEASON OF SHADOW AND LIGHT infidelity, same sex relationships, abuse, and organ transplants. Which made it such an interesting story to read. The relationships between the different characters are very believable and the country town that was the setting just came alive on the pages. I can see I am going to have to go back and pick up some of Jenn McLeod’s earlier works.
For more about the author – Click Here
B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.
With thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.