Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: Let the Shadows Fall Behind You

Summary: Filled with quirky, heartwarming characters, this novel is a late coming-of-age story shaped by the eternal redeeming power of female friendship. Brannagh Maloney returns to her hometown for a reunion of old friends, carrying the burden of thinking she has lost her lover, Nikolai Mirsky. Once there, she finds it hard to ignore old family secrets, and decides to visit the house where she was raised and treated cruelly by her grandfather. Brannagh forces the old man to tell her what happened to her mother, and the shocking truth finally sets her free as she understands why her grandfather had acted so harshly. When Nikolai turns up unexpectedly, Brannagh's life takes another turn as her mysterious past deepens. -- Kunati

When I started reading LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU by Kathy-Diane Leveille, I assumed it was going to be one of those part suspense/part mystery type of book. And there definitely was a suspense aspect to this novel, but I was a little surprised that there was so much more to this story. This book is actually much deeper than a just a typical mystery book. LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU is a deep, complex story that delves into a woman's life and her attempts to resolve issues about her past.

What I most appreciate about this book was how Ms. Leveille developed all of the characters. In fact, I thought she did a wonderful job of bringing so many complicated characters to life. (I can't remember the last time I read a book with this many characters who were carrying this much baggage.) I especially appreciated how she developed the character of Brannagh. Brannagh always felt as if important people in her life just disappeared on her, and she was trying to come to terms with not only her current relationship but also all of the relationships in her past. I wasn't sure that I actually liked Brannagh -- she was rather distant and even cold; however, as the story unfolded, I began to sympathize with her. And by the end of the book, I was hoping that she would have some closure and begin to heal.

I also enjoyed the suspense and mystery parts of this story. While I definitely think the character development was my favorite part of this book, I still liked that I was "in the dark" about so much of Brannagh's and Nikki's past. I found myself guessing as to what had happened to them and even questioning where the book was going to go. When things finally became clear towards the end of the book, I was surprised to say the least. LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU will keep you guessing and even thinking about the book after you complete it.

I enjoyed Ms. Leveille's writing style and how she told this story. The story goes back and forth between Brannagh's current life and her incidents from her past. In addition, the story also flashes back to Nikki's childhood. I liked how the reader was given little "clues" into both of the characters' pasts to help explain their current situations. It could have been confusing switching back and forth so often and with so many characters; however, I thought Ms. Leveille did a terrific job with this and kept things clear to the reader.

This book will certainly entertain a lot of readers because it is a good mix of suspense and character development. However, I also think many readers will be impressed with the deeper topics that the book explores -- -- it might even make a good book club discussion book. There are so many things to think about such as the characters' actions and reactions as well as the issue of perception vs. reality. I also think there is a great opportunity for discussion about the various relationships that occur throughout the novel.

Make sure you stop by tomorrow because Ms. Leveille will be writing a guest post especially for Booking Mama's readers.

A big thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book!


bermudaonion said...

I love books that make me think long after I've finished them. I usually drive people crazy talking about them.

Beth F said...

I would probably like this one because I love well-developed characters -- even ones with baggage!

Anna said...

I received a copy of this book, too, and I'll be reading it soon. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Diary of an Eccentric

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I've got a copy of this book waiting for me to read. Now I'm more eager.