Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Blake Duchamp . . .
He's all that Winter Adam 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 darkness.
The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.
I was a bit reluctant in reading this book because of the cliches within its summary storyline. You know how it goes . . . Girl meets boy. Boy hides secret. Girl is determined to find out that secret. But then the secret is found out and trouble follows. Then the boy tries to stay away from girl for no good reason. But then the girl can't seem to stay away from that boy. So then the boy decides he needs to save the girl. And well . . . I guess you get the point from here. So when my mother bought this book for me on a whim and thought I might be interested in giving it a go, I read it and surprisingly . . . I kind of loved it. A lot in fact.
Winter Adams is a teenage girl whose life has recently changed after the death of her parents, but nothing is stranger than her mere encounter with Blake Duchamp. But unlike most boys she knows, this mysterious but handsome stranger, Blake, hides a very dark secret and despite his attempts in staying away from Winter, he can't seem to do it and so comes many dire consequences in them spending time together.
First of all, I love the name Winter. And secondly, wow what an amazing concept. WINTER'S SHADOW is such an interesting, unique and a dark Gothic-like storyline and it surprised me in many ways that I thought weren't possible. Some may say the story was predictable - and in some cases yes it was at times - but it's not about predictably here, it's about the creativeness and development which I found M.J. Hearle did an amazing job at. The story itself ran very smoothly across three perspectives that the story was told in - Winter's, Blake's and Madeleine's - and with the novel set up against the backdrop of an abandoned house, hidden amongst the mountains and trees, I'm quite glad to have had the opportunity to read this novel and I wished I didn't doubt it.
Blake on the other hand was my favourite character in the book. As well as Winter of course. Their interactions with one another didn't distract me from the initial storyline - not even the quickly-formed romance shared between the two of them. But once you learn the secrets of Blake and even Winter's, it was an interesting turn point for the book and I loved every moment of it. Unfortunately I won't give anything away because I want you all to go out and pick this book up, and to enjoy it for yourself. But be warned there is a cliffhanger - what book doesn't have one - and I have to say there's was nothing predictable about it, so it'll be interesting how the author writes out the sequel . . . there are so many directions he could go in.
Overall I thought WINTER'S SHADOW was a fantastic debut novel for M.J. Hearle. With a new and refreshing storyline, and with mystical beings entangled into the threads of this paranormal read, readers will thoroughly enjoy this book as much as I did and I'll be looking forward to the next book in this YA series.