These Fleeting Shadows

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3.7 (2)
 
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These Fleeting Shadows
Age Range
13+
Release Date
August 09, 2022
ISBN
978-0593405116
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Helen Vaughan doesn't know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven't spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she's shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she'll be left with nothing.
 
There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen's dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night? And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?
 
With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Creepy with a touch of LGBT
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
When her grandfather passes away, Helen has to return to Harrow (her childhood home) with her mother and brother and meet the family that her mother has been trying to keep her out of. Here, they find out that her grandfather has left Helen the estate along with a hefty sum of money, but there's one condition. She has to stay at Harrow for at least a year or else she gets nothing. With no other option, Helen decides to stay and get through the year. It's only a house. Right? Who cares if her family members are odd.

But the more time she spends there, the more Helen realizes that things aren't as they seem. Helen isn't easy to scare off and she's determined to unveil the truths of Harrow. Along the way, she gains the help of the "Harrow Witch" Bryony who's quite attractive to Helen and feelings even start to develop between them. However, the situation is less than ideal when your life is on the line and it's hard to determine if it's better to uncover the secrets, or leave them at rest.

THESE FLEETING SHADOWS is an odd young adult horror novel full of suspense and creepy vibes. The creatures that go bump in the halls during the night are not the ones you want to meet ever in your lifetime. The vivid description paints a perfect picture of them and all I can say is, "No, thank you." Not to mention the number of secrets hidden between the walls. There's a touch of LGBT and I love the character development we see in both Helen and Bryony. In the beginning it gets a bit confusing, but it comes together as the plot thickens and starts connecting the dots.


Final Verdict: Overall, this is a creepy read with a surprising queer romance wrapped in the middle. With the fall season coming up, THESE FLEETING SHADOWS is the perfect spooky story for fans of gothic horror, secrets, LGBT, suspense, and strong female leads.
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These Fleeting Shadows
(Updated: July 31, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked: Creepy, surreal story of Helen Vaughan and a mysterious ancestral home filled with deadly secrets. This story had an almost Edgar Allan Poe feel going for it with ghostly mysteries that keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Helen doesn't get why her mother is not too happy to return to her family home after the death of her father. Helen doesn't have too many memories of life there except for one unfortunate accident with a childhood peer. There are hints throughout the story that might be hard to connect to the bigger piece of the puzzle. A few times I did have to go back and check what was happening. The surreal sensation is where the story reminded me of a few shorts by Edgar Allan Poe. Helen is a complex teen whose struggles to make sense of the atmospheric feel of Harrowstone Hall compel her to find out more. This happens when after her grandfather's death she's given the Hall but only on the condition, that she stays for a year. To say weird things occur during her stay is an understatement. One of these is how she finds herself outside and covered in dirt.

Her estranged family has its own secrets. Secrets that hint at a deadly past. Young girls have been missing. These victims have ties to the Hall.

Helen does find a journal with entries from the mid-1800s that give clues on the origins of the house that involve horrific practices the family has done to keep Harrowstone Hall.

There's a queer love interest with Bryony who is known as the 'Hallow Witch'. Bryony has her own secrets.

Engaging, spooky horror story where a girl finds out that not is all that it seems. She needs to solve a mystery that will affect not only her family but herself as well.

Good Points
1. Creepy, surreal story of a young girl and a mysterious ancestral home
2. Knives Out meets Winchester
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