Tag Archives: Pamela Hartshorne

The Edge of Dark

The Edge of Dark

by Pamela Hartshorne

by Pamela Hartshorne

Jane and Roz live very different lives.

Jane, tricked into a loveless marriage, struggles to live up to the expectations of her husband and mother-in-law. Her life is full of secrets and promises she is determined to keep, not least the one made to her dying sister.

Roz has no family of her own, or so she believes. Her past has hidden secrets that she is only just beginning to come to terms with. She has no memory of the tragedy that killed the rest of her family, but her new job at the newly restored Holmwood House in York triggers disturbing memories.

The one thing that they do have in common is the secrets that lie beneath the surface.  Their lives in inexplicably linked to Holmwood House and its tragic history, but separate by 400 years.

For Roz, taking the job in York is an opportunity to strike out on her own and developed the career she has been dreaming of. It is also an opportunity to reconnect with the city where she was born. She is not looking for answers to her past, but entering Holswood Housen triggers some very disturbing memories. The only thing is, they are not her own. 

Jane’s life in Elizabethan England is far removed from the freedoms and privileges enjoyed by Roz. But they are not the only players in this malicious game. Jane is not the only one reaching across the centuries.

The Edge of Dark is a tale full of hidden secrets, broken promises and faded dreams. Pamela Hartshorne’s knowledge and understanding of Elizabethan England, and particularly York, gives the narrative and characters real authenticity. But it is the intensity of the plot and the sense of menace that really make this book stand out. 

As the story switches between Jane and Roz’s stories, there is a real sense of foreboding. From the Prologue to the last page, the story never lets up. There is mystery, deceit, secrets and dark supernatural forces at play, all in very capable hands.

A very enjoyable read.

 

The Cursed Wife

The Cursed Wifeby Pamela Hartshorne

The Cursed Wife is one of those books that is difficult to categorise. There is murder, suspense, revenge, mystery and even a hint of witchcraft, all centred around two “sisters” living in Elizabethan London.

Mary and Cat are thrust together when they were very young. Distant relations, they become as close as sisters. Loving and fighting in equal measure. But they are not and never can be equals. One is the orphaned daughter of a penniless country gentleman, the other titled and privileged. 

But their lives are entwined, even as their fates diverge on different paths. 

Cat has led a privileged life, but following the death of her father, she becomes little more than a pawn as her brother effectively sells her off to the highest bidder. It isn’t long before her husband’s depravity and games lead Cat to make a decision that will change both of their lives forever. A chance meeting in the summer rain brings the two women back together throws Mary’s life into turmoil as Cat’s presence threatens everything she has spent the past 16 years building.

The narrative alternates between the two women, each telling the story from their own point of view. With their fortunes reversed, their former friendship turns to rivalry and they are forced to hide their true pasts. 

There are plenty of twists and turns as the story unfolds. I enjoyed the story, the characters and the pace. I also found the interaction between the two protagonists fascinating. The way each of the interpreted the events of their past acts as a reminder that not everything is as black and white as it seems. Truth is sometimes malleable and often biased. 

Pamela Hartshorne uses all her experience as a historian to ensure consistency and authenticity. It is a great story and an enjoyable read. 

House of Shadows

House of Shadowsby Pamela Hartshorne

House of Shadows is a story of possession, betrayal, discovery, love and redemption. It is a ghost story without ghosts – or at least not in the way you might expect. This is possession, but not in the Exorcist, spinning head and strange voices way. The supernatural element of this compelling tale is much more subtle than that.

It is really the story of two women, separated by four centuries but united by their love and need to reconnect with their sons. Both women find themselves being manipulated by those they trust with dramatic and tragic results. 

When Kate Vavasour wakes in the hospital she remembers nothing of her life, her family or her friends. Everyone around her is a stranger. She doesn’t even know why she is in the hospital and no one seems in a hurry to explain it to her. When her memories do begin to come back it is very quickly obvious that that can’t be hers. In fact, they are the memories if Isabel Vavasour who had lived and died four hundred years before.

Kate now has to not only reconnect with her own memories, rebuilding her relationships with those closest to her but also try to make some sense of her visions of Isabel’s ultimately tragic life. 

As I said, this is not a ghost story as such Isabel’s presence in Kate’s life is a plea for help and as Kate begins to understand this, her fear is replaced by a dogged determination to find out all she can to answer Isabel’s questions about her son. What she doesn’t know is it was that very singlemindedness that landed her in hospital in the first place.

House of Shadows is a tense and thrilling novel that kept me gripped right from the start. It was easy to piece together what was really going on with all the characters. At the heart of the book are two young mothers, both married into the Vavasour family, and both driven by a deep and enduring love for their husbands and sons. But ultimately, both are blinded by unquestioning loyalty to friends who have their own agendas.

An excellent story very well told.