The relentless winter of 1947 holds post-war Britain in its deadly grip, and Eleanor Phillips rides out from her beleaguered Cotswold farm to rescue a stranger lost in the storm. But the near-dead man is no stranger and when she recognises Matthew Croft, the old ties of a failed romance tug deeply. Her sweetheart has returned from the war…
Suspicion, the police and the panicked flight of a desperate man beat a path to her door. And with a wanted man hidden in her home and stealing back into her heart, Eleanor must be on her guard—for the net is closing in on them both and enemies are all around…Amazon UK
Set in the devastating winter of 1947 ‘In the Shadow of Winter’ is an atmospheric story brimming with history, mystery, romance and suspense. Written in the first person, the story reads as Eleanor’s memoir. It allows the reader to experience post war rationing and poverty in a wholly realistic way. I remember my own grandparents and parents shuddering, when they recounted this cruel winter, so close to the austerity of WW2 and this story has the same authenticity.
Eleanor believes herself to be an eccentric person. In many ways this is true but it makes her easy to imagine and like. A strong, independent woman, Eleanor overcomes the obstacles thrown in her way and I admired her spirit. Her household is unconventional, but loving. The animals, which are an integral part of it, have distinct personalities, recognisable to anyone who shares similar lives with their animal friends.
Matthew is the perfect anti-hero. Seen through Eleanor’s eyes his transformation is believable and enlightening. The interplay between Eleanor and Matthew is interesting and sweetly romantic, in keeping with the attitudes of 1940’s England.
Absorbing and chilling, yet tempered with echoes of a lost romance, which makes Eleanor’s struggle to do what it is right, poignant. Well paced with plenty of action packed scenes, this story is one of the best I’ve read this year for its imagery and originality.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars