Living In The Shadows

  • Layout 1Author: Judith Barrow
  • Published: July 2015 by Honno Welsh Women’s Press
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • five-stars

It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria.
Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire.
At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so?
There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.

The third and final part of the trilogy picks up the story in the late 1960’s and concentrates on the next generation. Peter and Mary Schormann are still living in Wales with their teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Richard has gone into medicine, taking after his father, and not letting his hearing problems hinder his career or his life. He is staying with his aunt and uncle in Ashford while he attends interviews for the university hospital in Manchester. He’s rescued from a potentially dangerous situation by Karen Worth who proves to be a catalyst in the story.

His sister, Victoria, bored with life in Wales, makes a very unwise decision, swapping what she considers her restrictive lifestyle for another, much worse and very frightening one.

Llamroth was deserted. True to form, Victoria Schormann thought: there wasn’t a soul around the village. Eleven o’ clock at night and everybody had gone into hibernation. She sighed with impatience. She’s been looking out for Seth’s camper van from her bedroom for the last two hours. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand the waiting any longer she saw it glide silently down the lane behind the church.

An extremely upsetting encounter for nurse Linda Booth, who is still traumatised by an incident from her childhood, at the beginning of the story suggests future distress. The rest of the cousins don’t escape trouble as the shadowy echoes of events from the past have unwelcome and heart breaking consequences for the whole family.

Told in short chapters, each focussing on an individual character, with an interlinking number of storylines merging into a suspenseful, sometimes quite sinister, narrative. Strong, realistic and mostly likeable characters, with one or two noticeable exceptions, all drive the story forward.  Issues that were totally frowned upon during 1960s are dealt with, including same-sex relationships and domestic violence. Cults and commune living, the effect they had on the members and their families, are also explored. The coincidences that bring the threads together are worked into the story extremely well, culminating in the final dramatic and moving scenes.

Judith Barrow crafts a skilful tale without downplaying the reality of life for ordinary people in a northern 60’s town. The BCB-Host Button-200Rosie's Book Review team 1evocative and convincing descriptions of locations and characters, along with the dialogue, give credence to the story.

My thanks to Judith Barrow and Brook Cottage Books for a review copy. This review is in conjunction with Brook Cottage Books and Rosie Amber’s review team.

Living in the Shadows Tour Banner NOV 2-20 2


There are three copies of Living In The Shadows to give away via Rafflecopter.

About the author

judithbarrow (2)Judith Barrow has lived in Pembrokeshire for thirty years. She is the author of three novels, and has published poetry and short fiction, winning several poetry competitions, as well as writing three children’s books and a play performed at the Dylan Thomas Centre. Judith grew up in the Pennines, has degrees in literature and creative writing and makes regular appearances at literary festivals.

Sequel to the acclaimed Changing Patterns and Pattern of Shadows:

Judith Barrow has not written an ordinary romance but a book that deals with important issues which are still relevant today… an excellent debut novel.
Historical Novels Review

Judith Barrow has written, with great intensity of emotions, an absorbing saga…

well-paced, gritty love story
Western Mail

An unforgettable debut novel – perfectly paced
Menna Elfyn

Barrow’s thoughtful and atmospheric novel shines a light on the shadowy corners of family life…
Lancashire Evening Post

a gripping read.
Tivyside Advertiser

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