M.J Hearle- Winter’s Shadow (2011)
Synopsis: (From Goodreads): Blake Duchamp…
He’s all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim’s Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.
But Blake isn’t all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness.
The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.
Review: Winter Adams is a self-conscious introverted teen who is coming to terms with her parent’s death six months prior. A near death experience at an abandoned church leads to an encounter with the mysterious Blake Duchamp. She is instantly drawn to him but he keeps her at arm’s-length because he has secrets of his own. Now that Winter has escaped death, death follows her. Blake may be her only chance at survival.
I don’t really want to give away the plot because I think the beauty of this story is that the author’s eloquent way with language and a well thought out plot will have you guessing what will happen next until the very end. It was a long way into the book before things really started to happen, but the slow lead up and character development makes the action so much more meaningful. The author has a wonderful way with evoking emotion and the romance between Winter and Blake is believable and engaging.
Although Winter’s demeanor of helplessness and passivity was endearing at times I also found it a little frustrating. It did fit with the context though, considering her parents had died, she was inexperienced with the opposite sex and well she was just an average teenage girl. I was happy when she strengthened up a bit and took charge near the end of the novel though.
The ending wasn’t quite what I expected but I was not disappointed. Everything was all tied up and I feel like I had a good understanding of all the elements at play- whereas in some paranormal plots I get a bit lost at times. The last two pages have given me some hope and I am pleased to hear that the author is working on a sequel because I will definitely be checking this out!
Winter’s Shadow is a unique story about falling in love, loss and the sacrifices that have to be made. The best way to explain it is that it’s a cross between Twilight (minus the vampires) and Final Destination (the movie). It’s definitely a must read for paranormal fans who want a new spin on the genre.
* I received a review copy from the publisher, Pan Macmillan- Thank you!
Winter’s Shadow was released in June 2011 and is available on Kindle
About the author: Addicted to stories from a young age, it was somewhat inevitable that M.J. Hearle turned to dealing them himself. Winter’s Shadow is his first published novel. While ostensibly a paranormal romance it does not contain any sparkly vampires or shirtless werewolves. Instead it creates a new supernatural mythology and a different kind of monster for readers to fear and (hopefully) fall in love with. Published in Australia by Pan Macmillan in June of 2011, it will be followed by a sequel, Winter’s Light, in 2012. An untitled third entry in the Winter novels is planned for release in 2013. http://mjhearle.com/