I don't even really know what to say about this book, which is sad, because I've been thinking about my review for A PALE SHADOW for months because it was such a great story. I love long epic sagas jam-packed with drama and this had everything that is catnip for me: a villainous hero, small-town secrets, dub-con, and angst. Even knowing what was coming, I still experienced all the feels, and it's a testament to Heather's skills as a writer that something could make me feel so bad at times and still be so compulsively good.
This is definitely a book where knowing less is more going in. It does have a lot of triggers, though, and I definitely advise you to read the content warning in the blurb if you are sensitive to reading about certain content. I felt like it was handled with the appropriate gravitas and that it was necessary for the plot, but this book is dark.
Annice is a young girl when the book starts out. Her mother dumps her off at her childhood home in Rakewell Falls, a made-up town in Washington, when money gets tight. The town is a nostalgic idyll of the times of yore-- only it isn't, quite. There's something dark lurking beneath the gloss and she finds that out the hard way, which ends up bringing her to the attention-- and the mercy-- of the town's golden boy, and the descendant of one of the founders: Adrian Carey.
The whole time I was reading this, I kept picturing it as a movie. The writing is so descriptive and lush, to the point that you can picture everything unfolding in vivid detail. I think as writers, we often write the types of stories we want to read but can't find elsewhere. This is the story that I didn't even realize I wanted, and now that I've read it, I feel like I'm going to be haunted by it for a while.
4.5 to 5 out of 5 stars