Cover Image: The Shadow House

The Shadow House

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Member Reviews

THE BONES COME FIRST...
When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind.

NEXT, A DOLL...
Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex's teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own.

AND THEN THE BLOOD.
Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs - before it engulfs them whole...

A tense and haunting tale of one mother's fight for her family, in a place where no one can hear you scream.

This book is super creepy and I had goosebumps all over but it was so addictive that I couldn't stop turning the pages. I was actually terrified for the characters in the story because I found them all very likeable. If you're after a horror, suspense or physcological thriller then I recommend this book. Thank you netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 
My rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐4/4
#netgalley #theshadowhouse
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Set in Australia The Shadow House is a tense and creepy tale following Alex, a single parent of two.  She moves to the remote eco village of Pine Ridge to escape an abusive relationship, hoping for a fresh start.  The author’s descriptions of the village and surrounding area are vivid and detailed and I really enjoyed reading about how Pine Ridge is run.  It soon becomes apparent to Alex there is something about the village that is unsettling, compounded by stories of a witch living in the surrounding forest and the strange and mysterious things that start to happen.

As well as Alex’s point of view, the book is written from Renee’s perspective from around 6 years earlier when her son mysteriously went missing and I liked the way these two story lines merged together.  There is some great characterisation and an intriguing community of people living at Pine Lodge.  Alex herself is portrayed well and you can’t help but empathise with her situation and the fact she’s an exhausted mother of a difficult teenager and teething baby.  There is also the introduction of a lovely little romance which is kept light and doesn’t overpower the rest of the story.  The plot itself unravelled slowly giving you plenty of time to assimilate the information and the suspense built up nicely.  The ending is satisfactorily wrapped up, with a nice little twist or two to keep you guessing.  

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and really enjoyed.  The story is not overly complicated, the author creates a wonderful uneasy atmosphere, vivid descriptions of the surroundings and on the whole it’s an entertaining and fun read.
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A creepy, atmospheric and gripping gothic thriller. Well plotted and well told, I liked the characters and it kept me on the hooked.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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"The Shadow House" by Anna Downes was a real treat for my brain. The writing is some of the smoothest I've read this year, and the story is addictive (I just *HAD* to find out what happened next). Despite being left with one absolutely huge, burning, unanswered question, I loved this book from start to finish (though I'm still not sure I like Alex!).

My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
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I previously read The Safe Place by Anna Downes, and loved it, so when I was offered a review copy of The Shadow House, of course I jumped at the chance. That did mean that I had high expectations for this book, and I was super excited to read it, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t let me down!

The story begins with Alex, who is on her way to her fresh start, her new life, with her two children, Ollie and Kara. Alex is very clearly running from something, or someone, and Pine Ridge is the perfect place for it. Immediately, this raises questions, like what exactly is it that she is running from? It makes you want to continue reading to find your answers.

Along side Alex’s story, we have Renee’s story. Pine Ridge is built on what used to be an old flower farm, which was owned by Renee and her husband. It had been in her husband’s family for generations! They had a son named Gabriel, who one night went missing, never to be seen again. We follow the events which lead up to Gabriel’s disappearance, which has now become more of a local witch story. The two stories of Alex and Renee are entwined brilliantly by the author so that they play out together perfectly.

Alex and Renee’s stories are actually very similar, particularly in their experiences with their children. Both Olli and Gabriel are clearly struggling and going through some stuff, but they’re shutting their parents out and also taking out their anger and frustrations on them. Both mother’s are obviously finding it difficult, because all they want to do is help their children and make them happy, but how do they do that when they refuse to let them help? I felt so sorry for them both. In Alex’s case, she has two children to raise single handedly, and both are at difficult ages. Ollie is a teenager, and going through all of the struggles of being a teenager, where as Kara is just a baby, and still requires constant care. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for her.

Pine Ridge sounded like a beautiful place to live, with amazing scenery, and lots of things to do, but at the same time I felt like there was something off about it, there was definitely something strange going on. Is all the community togetherness act just a front for something else? I immediately thought that Kit, who runs Pine Ridge, seemed way too nice, almost as though he had an ulterior motive, and he was definitely hiding something. And then there is all the talk of the witch story, the local legend that all of the children in the area have grabbed on to and let their imaginations run wild. The weird things that begin to happen to Alex and her family make you start to question whether the story could possibly be true.

There is a slow build of intensity throughout the story as the events unfold along the way, and a few moments which are truly horrifying. Watching Alex navigate through the difficulties of her new life, along with the weird and horrible things that are going on around her has you completely hooked. It all leads up to an exciting ending which has you on the edge of your seat, and there are a few revelations and unexpected twists which will leave you reeling. A brilliant end to a fantastic story.

I knew I was going to enjoy this book, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Anna Downes has in store for us in the future.

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for my ebook copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I give The Shadow House a 4 star rating!
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An amazing book with an excellent plot, lots of twists.
Alex has just moved her family to an eco housing complex , when she discovers strange gifts on her doorstep. The other residents seem to all hide secrets and tension builds as Alex fears for her sons safety. Very creepy with tales of witchcraft and long held secrets. 
I was enthralled by this book and cannot wait for more from the author, highly recommend.
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I felt this book was rather a slow burner and the relationship between Alex, the mother, and her son Ollie is hard work. Alex is trying to hold together her bond with him however also dealing with her baby Kara. 

She moves to a rural community which seems a bit cult like and strange things start to happen. 

You read the book in the view of Alex and also Renee which is set in the past. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton  for the opportunity to read an advance copy in return for my honest review.
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‘The Shadow House’ is the latest book by Anna Downes.

When single mother Alex arrives at her new home with her two children, she can finally breathe easy. Pine Ridge, a rural community near the Australian coast, is beautiful, peaceful and most importantly, far away from the trauma she left behind. Then unexplained boxes start arriving at the house, and Alex’s teenage son begins to retreat into himself more than ever. As rumours and legends swirl through the community, Alex realises that Pine Ridge is guarding long-held secrets of its own. Something is lurking in the shadows, and Alex and her family are in grave danger. She must protect her children from the darkness at all costs – before it engulfs them whole.

If you like your stories riddled with eeriness and underlying tension, then you’re in for a treat with ‘The Shadow House’.

Set in Australia and through the perspective of newcomer to Pine Ridge, Alex with her teenage son Oliver and baby girl Kara and Renee who’s lived in the close knit rural community. Strange things are happening with unwanted boxes and threats being left at their front doors and both their teenage sons weirdly.

I really enjoyed this story and the creepy undertones of witchcraft and legends add to the suspense of tale. Pine Ridge is a tight community, who are not particularly fond of newcomers and Alex really feels this from some of the locals, whilst others react warmly to her. It’s obvious that Alex is running from something and this adds to the suspense of the book as we wonder what’s the background to her life. Whilst Renee is really worried about her son Gabe, who spends all his time in his bedroom and has become quite reclusive.

The writing in this story is gripping and atmospheric and the gradual build up of tension throughout the book really pulled in along with the cult like society. ‘The Shadow House’ is packed with mystery, intrigue and eerie moments and made for wonderfully creepy reading.

You can buy ‘The Shadow House’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
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The Shadow House intrigued me. From the get go there were questions being raised, such as why did they move, why did Pine Ridge have a ‘cult’ like feel to it, why were the other residents acting as though they were under some sort of spell.

Maybe that was just me who thought that, but it certainly gave me food for thought.

I have read many suspense/thrillers that have been slow burners, and I would have to say that The Shadow House falls under that category for sure. It took me a good while to get into the throws of the storyline as, even though the questions at the beginning gave me that all important hook, I found it a bit tricky to really grab the book by its horns. I’m not sure whether that was because I was a bit impatient, or whether the storylines full potential was a bit delayed.

With all that in mind, I enjoyed the concept of the novel, the drip feeding of eery moments, and the authors way of creating her characters. A thumbs up from me!
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I thoroughly enjoyed Anna Downes debut novel so was looking forward to reading this new book. It concerns Alex, mother of a rebellious teenage son, Ollie, and baby daughter Kara who has run from an abusive relationship to what she hopes is a new start. She has found an eco village and it should have provided everything she needed. But almost immediately strange things happen, the children aren’t settled and she  is too exhausted to cope. Plus not all of her neighbours are welcoming. At the same time there were flashbacks to Renee and her family where there are strong similarities to some of what Alex was facing. I have to admit that I had little liking or sympathy for Ollie, but did for Gabriel, Renee’s son. However my thoughts regarding Ollie changed the more I read and knew more about him. 

Much of the time I can workout which way a storyline is going, I had no idea with this book. It’s not really full of twists, instead there are secrets that are gradually revealed and there was more than just Ollie who I liked and understood more as I read. 

It’s original with a perfect setting that was also different to most
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Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in. Atmospheric, haunting and superbly plotted.
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I read the authors debut #TheSafeHouse which I enjoyed so I was more than chuffed to be offered the chance to read #TheShadowHouse through #Netgalley (ebook) and I must say I think i liked it that teeny bit more. It had all the eery vibes going on that kept me leafing through desperately needing to know just what was going down. 

I don't actually use AudioBook ( I keep meaning to try it though, I definitely think I'd get more reading done that way) but I reckon with the descriptive way Downes sets the atmospheric scene here it would be a cracking way to enjoy this book so Audio readers, keep your ears out for this one!
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4.5★s
The Shadow House is the second novel by British-born Australian author, Anna Downes. Mother of two, Alex Ives is in hiding from an abusive partner. She stumbled on the Pine Ridge ecovillage some months earlier and decides its isolation provides a much-needed refuge. But her fourteen-year-old son Oliver is highly resentful of being plucked from his school and social life in the city to come to this hippy dump. Eight-month-old Kara is vocal only about her emerging teeth.

It doesn’t take her too long to realise that the attentions of Kit Vestey, the charismatic founder of the village, are not for her alone, and that most, but not all, in the village are as welcoming as he is. But more disturbing is the box she finds on her doorstep, containing a mutilated dead bird. Symbols on trees in the surrounding bushland, a note in her mailbox, and a story of a witch that took a boy from the farmhouse across the valley: surely just scary myths?

Ollie’s YouTube activity is a worry too; she’s shocked to learn he’s been on the dark web, and she can’t find a trace, in this skinny, surly teen, of the smart and funny boy he was five years earlier. Should she send him to the local school, and risk another incident like that in his last school, or try to home-school him? Between Kara’s teething and noises from the bush at night disrupting her sleep, Alex feels ragged with exhaustion.

In her twenty years on her husband’s flower farm, Renee Kellerman has weathered good times and bad: bumper harvests, the GFC and droughts; but nothing has been as challenging as the disconnect with her once-sweet sixteen-year-old son. He keeps to his room, immerses himself in technology, and is he cutting? On top of this, a box with the mutilated body of her beloved cat and vandalism of their home. Then Gabe goes missing.

Downes easily evokes era and setting in this dual time-line mystery, and gives the reader two credible and relatable protagonists living in difficult circumstances, who are faced with realistic problems which are then exacerbated by bizarre incidents. Those incidents, six years apart, seem to connect two fearful teenaged boys. Incidents in Alex’s timeline are potentially related to her ex-partner, Ollie’s online activity, or unfriendly villagers, thus keeping the reader guessing right up to the final, exciting reveal. Moody, unsettling and filled with suspense, this is a riveting thriller.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.
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A gothic and mysterious read I was absolutely enthralled by! The writer was able to create a setting that is perfect for the story of a mother trying to save her family from the darkness lurking in their new house.
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**Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. Here are my honest thoughts**

Honestly, I wasn't sure what I was feeling about this book when I first picked it up. The characters were coming across a little flat to me and I was confused from going between our two main characters point of view.
In the end though, the way this story was written ended up making sense, and it all fell into place.

The story is about Alex, a single mother moving herself and her two children, Ollie and Kara, aged fourteen and 10months respectively, moving to a small eco-village built on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia.
Alex hasn't had an easy life and is wanting a fresh start, so that's exactly what she does, but as soon as she arrives, strange things start happening.
Our other main character is Renee, a mother of a 15-year-old named Gabriel, and her husband Michael, who owns a flower farm, on the outskirts of Sydney. 
She's worried about her son, he's secluding himself in his room, his demeanor has changed, and Renee spends a lot of her time working on the farm with her husband, who is a typical Aussie Bloke and has no time for feelings.

As the story unfolds you see the connections between the two women, and all the twists and turns during this book were not predictable. I ended up enjoying the book more than i originally thought and I'm glad I finished it.

If you like a mystery, thriller set in an eco-village about a bunch of people with secrets of their own, then this book is for you.
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Great read this was, thoroughly enjoyed it, loved the story itself and really loved the cover of this book, it keeps the reader guessing up to the last
page..
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Menacing Suspense…
A new home brings torment in this menacing suspense with an edge. A claustrophobic and tense tale of a mother who will do anything to protect her children. She’s already left behind trauma but the new house has come with it’s own distinct brand of terror. Character driven and with a solid narrative, this is an uneasy read.
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This book is really creepy. It spoke to the parts of horror stories that creep me out the most and so this definitely creeped me out. Really well written and atmospheric.
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4+ creepy stars

A house- a bone - a doll - blood. Intriguing! Alex Ives arrives at Pine Ridge, a sustainable self build eco-village concept and slap bang in the middle of nowhere. In tow are her teenage son Oliver who has had issues at his Sydney school and he most definitely doesn’t want to be there with his hugely palpable negativity coming in tidal waves. She also has baby Kara who is teething leading to Alex being massively sleep deprived. Alex wants a fresh start, away from her ex Stuart , father of Kara and as far away from his vile text messages as she can get.

There’s a second narrative from Renee who is married to farmer Michael. They are having serious issues with their son Gabriel who is giving cause for concern especially over his screen addiction. What connects Alex and Renee? 

The novel starts slowly, it’s quite detailed but you do get a good sense of the surroundings. Don’t let that fool you, the author lulls you into a false sense of security as you pull up short with the beginning of disturbing signs in both narratives. Weird dreams, noises that send shivers down the spine, creepy shadows  and oh boy, does the atmosphere ever build as it’s obvious this is not the idyllic place it seems and there are some shocker jaw droppers. There’s a really excellent goosebumpy supernatural element that is both spooky and malevolent and it escalates so that there’s a looming sense of something really bad approaching with palpable suspense and tension and in addition the sparking difficult dynamics don’t help the situation. The reveals when they come all good and they certainly surprise me.

The characterisation is very good especially of truculent teen Ollie and the struggling Gabriel, Alex is portrayed well and you ooze sympathy for the exhausted mother. Renee’s parents or something else too.

Overall this is another good novel novel from Anna Downes and I look forward to reading what she comes up with next.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Hodder and Stoughton for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
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I found this to be an entertaining read but I wasn’t gripped by it. I really enjoyed the premise of the eco village/commune and the two connected stories but I didn’t really engage with the characters, mainly because Alex the main character seemed to make some weird decisions – for example leaving her baby daughter with strangers when there were obviously weird things happening. I couldn’t really work out if this was a thriller, supernatural, family drama or a romance and I guess this is why it didn’t really work for me.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher Hodder & Stoughton and the author for the e- advance review copy.
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