Category Archives: Media Reviews

With Love for Books – the Suze Lavender review

It’s 1947 and people are struggling. Food is still on ration and the winter is devastatingly cold. Eleanor doesn’t have much, but what she does have she shares. She’s looking after Freddy, who’s a little bit different from other boys his age. They live on a farm and Eleanor loves horses. She’s a good rider and a great trainer. The peaceful life she and Freddy are living is disrupted because of Matthew. He’s injured and on the run from the police and something more sinister. He and Eleanor used to be together and even though he once broke her heart she takes Matthew in.

Eleanor offers Matthew a place to stay, which means he finally has found shelter after being in the bitter cold. It also keeps him away from the authorities. This puts her own safety at risk. Eleanor knows there’s something awful going on and things don’t add up, so she decides to give Matthew a chance. Getting caught would mean the gallows for him, but has he really done what he’s being accused of? Eleanor tries to get to the bottom of the matter, but is that a wise thing to do?

In the Shadow of Winter is a fabulous gripping novel. The mystery is intriguing and I loved Eleanor from the start. She is strong and capable and when life is hard she doesn’t run away, but finds a way to deal with it instead. Eleanor is kind and honest, but she’s also fiery and determined. She can perfectly manage on her own. She’s a powerful woman and I liked that about her character. She’s brave and trusts her instincts, which is something that will get her far. She knows welcoming Matthew into her home means trouble, but she does it anyway. She’s a fantastic main character and I enjoyed reading about her very much.

Eleanor lives on a farm and I instantly loved her home. It’s warm and cozy and it’s a welcoming place for both people and animals. I admired Lorna Gray’s tone of voice, it perfectly suits Eleanor’s character, which made the book even more wonderful to read for me. Eleanor’s passion is horses and Lorna Gray writes about them in a beautiful way. I could easily picture them and they have distinct personalities. I’m a big fan of books with animals and In the Shadow of Winter is definitely a good one.

Matthew has to stay out of sight, but he can’t go far, because that would mean the end of a normal existence for sure. Eleanor understands him and she gives him space and time, which was endearing to see. The crime Matthew is being accused of is complicated and interesting. The love story is romantic, which balances the cruelness of the criminals. All these elements together make In the Shadow of Winter a complete story. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved every single word.

Beautiful Descriptive Prose – Netgalley Review

“When I first started reading “In the Shadow of Winter”, I was struck by the beautiful descriptive prose of the story. It was almost as if I were reading poetry rather than a novel. Then the plot caught me in its grasp and I found that the book was as much as mystery as it was a romance.

The story is about Eleanor Phillips, a young woman who is struggling to keep her Cotswold family home after the deprivations of World War II. She has lost her mother long since and her father more recently. Her engagement to the man she loved was abruptly broken years before. She has picked up her broken pieces and is trying to make a home and living for herself and the young boy she has taken in during the war years.

The book opens shortly after the end of the war with Eleanor struggling through a winter storm to rescue a vagrant stranger who is close to death from hypothermia. As she works to rescue him, she realizes that the vagrant is none other than the man she was once engaged to, Matthew Croft.

From that point on, the plot develops to a mystery and much suspense as well as a romance. While reading the book, I was reminded forcefully of books by Mary Stewart. While “In the Shadow of Winter” is its own book, the type of plot and suspense was, to me, reminiscent of so many books I have read and loved, including “The Ivy Tree”, “Airs Above the Ground”, “The Moon-spinners” and many more by Ms. Stewart. Ms Stewart was, and still is, one of my favorite authors of all time, so comparing Ms. Gray’s work to hers is a very high compliment.

I am happy to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an all around good novel, with mystery, romance and suspense. It is definitely one that I plan to keep and also an author whose works I will look for in the future. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.”

Review by Vicky Leavitt for In the Shadow of Winter on