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Shadows of the Past

by Nellie H. Steele

Rating: ***

Josie Benson is struggling with vivid and disturbing nightmares that are beginning to impact her mental and physical health. The nightmare is the same each time and when a music box is left at her door which plays a strangely familiar tune the situation becomes decidedly weird. Her cousin and ex-boyfriend desperately want her to seek help but when understanding and answers begin to be provided by a stranger, Josie feels compelled to hear what he has to say despite the fact he only refers to her as ‘Celine’…

Shadows of the Past is a lively page-turner with tons of appeal. The prose is upbeat and breezy. Ms Steele has an uncomplicated and animated writing style which provides an easy read. Personally, I thought the first half of the novel was the strongest. It was an intriguing concept; the main thrust of the plot is well-imagined and clearly constructed. Josie is a fairly likeable main character and her despair and torment from the nightmares and sleep deprivation are described in unsettling detail. The arrival of the music box closely followed by Grayson Buckley, the man who appears to have the answers, really piques reader curiosity. The music box was a good linking motif lending the tinkle of the supernatural and I was happily baffled as to where it was all heading. However, the involvement of Damien, her cousin and then Michael, her ex-boyfriend, I found to be irksome in places. Personally, I felt their behaviour meddlesome rather than helpful and I would have liked to have seen less of them or have them utilised in a different way.

There is a great deal of imagination and enthusiasm at work in Shadows of the Past and it nicely tees up the series. I did think the disclosure from Josie’s Mother (I won’t spoil it) was dealt with a little casually and occasionally I felt the narrative trip itself up as it galloped forward; it does get very pacey towards the end.

Notwithstanding, there is lots to enjoy in this book; it’s an entertaining read that fairly sweeps you along. Recommended. Buy from:

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