Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her.
So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?
Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is – or even whether she is still alive.
A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the unanswered questions Emma left behind, and clinging desperately to the hope of finding her.
Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence – and with the trauma that shattered her life.
For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years?
Secrets that have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …
I really enjoyed this emotional read, which focuses on married couple Cath and Jim, who are still reeling from their daughter Emma’s disappearance a year ago. Their relationship has suffered, but they’re still together, though both have their own ways of coping.
We also follow Nick and Lara, who are renting a cottage from Cath and Jim, and whose lives become more entwined, whether Nick likes it or not – but Lara has a secret that could ruin everything…
We jumped between the two couples’ perspectives, which I liked, and eventually we learn more about Emma too and the lead-up to her disappearance. The story isn’t full of drama or surprises – more it’s a slow-burning but intriguing read because there’s always that question of what happened to Emma hovering in the background, which we start to unpick as we read more. Although there’s definitely elements of suspense and mystery in this book, I wouldn’t say that’s the focus of the book – it’s perfectly balanced.
I really enjoyed reading about all the characters’ lives, and finding out what really happened a year ago was an added bonus! The Shadow Child is nicely written and avoids any unnecessary hyperbole or cheesiness. I really enjoyed it and would happily read more by this author.