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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Shadow’s Way is a work of gothic intrigue and Southern mystery penned by author Barbara Frances. In this sweeping narrative of interpersonal drama, intended for mature readers, we meet Elaine Chauvier at the novel’s titular home, where she runs a bed and breakfast. Elaine is keen to hang on to Shadow’s Way, so when her half-sister Ophelia and cousin Rudy show up to visit, trouble ensues. Combining this with a mysterious Archbishop, his housekeeper and obscure identical twin, the novel progresses swiftly into a creepy and intriguing mystery as a massive hurricane approaches the Gulf Coast. A superbly haunted time awaits its readers.
Fans of Agatha Christie and her enormous ensemble casts will find many enjoyable parallels in the work and structure of author Barbara Frances. I particularly enjoyed the setting for this tale, playing on the traditional tropes of the Southern gothic genre, but also adding many flairs and twists from ghost stories, fables and psychological horror works. Both the characters and plot are multi-faceted, giving readers a lot to follow, but also a lot to gain from paying close attention to each clue and motivation. The mystery itself sometimes takes a back seat when the (often literal) ghosts and shadows take over, playing with the characters’ sensibilities and forcing them to ask much deeper questions of themselves and others. What results is an emotive but also thoughtful, spooky mystery novel. I would highly recommend Shadow’s Way to mystery and gothic fiction fans looking for something new, unique and really well crafted.