The Shadow House: A Novel (Paperback)
Extraordinarily tense and deliciously mysterious, Anna Downes's The Shadow House follows one woman's desperate journey to protect her children at any cost, in a remote place where not everything is as it seems.
A HOUSE WITH DEADLY SECRETS.
A MOTHER WHO'LL RISK EVERYTHING TO BRING THEM TO LIGHT.
Alex, a single mother-of-two, is determined to make a fresh start for her and her children. In an effort to escape her troubled past, she seeks refuge in a rural community. Pine Ridge is idyllic; the surrounding forests are beautiful and the locals welcoming. Mostly.
But Alex finds that she may have disturbed barely hidden secrets in her new home. As a chain of bizarre events is set off, events eerily familiar to those who have lived there for years, Alex realizes that she and her family might be in greater danger than ever before. And that the only way to protect them all is to confront the shadows lurking in Pine Ridge.
About the Author
ANNA DOWNES was born and raised in Sheffield, UK, but now lives just north of Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children. She worked as an actress before turning her attention to writing and appeared in BBC TV shows such as Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City, and Dalziel and Pascoe, as well as a long-running stage production of "The Dresser" in London's West End. She has degrees from both Manchester University (Drama) and RADA (Acting). She has been published in the Zodiac Literary Review, shortlisted for the Sydney Writers Room Short Story Prize and longlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Competition. The Safe Place was inspired by Anna’s experiences working as a live-in housekeeper on a remote French estate in 2009-10.
"Downes is . . . sowing the seeds of psychological terror, rooted in everyday traumas from sleeplessness to coping with teens, and branching out to create a nightmare world. A hair-raising mood piece you'll be glad to awaken from."—Kirkus Reviews
"[A] distinctive setting and well-drawn characters . . . Downes remains a writer to watch."—Publishers Weekly
"This gripped me from the first tense and beautifully written page and didn’t let go. The intriguing, eerie premise of The Shadow House delivered in every sense—I won’t be moving to an ecovillage anytime soon! Anna’s writing is visceral and compelling and the main characters are so well-drawn. I couldn’t trust anyone . . .The tension in this novel slowly ratchets as twist after twist are revealed, climaxing in an edge of the seat finale that had me furiously turning the pages. A must read!" —Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium
“Anna Downes has done it again! Written from the heart, from the point of view of a mother who will do anything to keep her children safe, The Shadow House has you asking questions and trusting no-one. Taut with tension from the outset, I devoured every twist and turn, desperately racing to the final pages, yet not wanting it to end. The perfect follow up to The Safe Place—a triumphant second novel!” —Sandie Jones, New York Times bestselling author
"In her riveting and haunting novel, Anna Downes leads us deep into the dark tangled fear and self-doubt of a young mother struggling to distinguish between real and imaginary threats to her child. Downes captures the abject terror that can accompany motherhood. The Shadow House will keep you turning pages into the night." —Mary Dixie Carter, author of The Photographer
"Vivid, atmospheric, and unsettling, The Shadow House will keep you up past your bedtime as you rapidly turn pages. With razor-sharp attention to detail and a setting that will give you chills, author Anna Downes skillfully explores themes of motherhood, relationships, and female instincts, all while maintaining a simmering tension that inevitably boils into brilliant twists and turns. Nuanced, suspenseful, and beautifully written."—Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here
“A brilliantly written, dark and twisty page-turner, chilling and wonderfully claustrophobic from the very first page.”—Karen Hamilton, international bestselling author of The Perfect Girlfriend
"Vivid, tense, and troubling."—Candice Fox, bestselling author of Crimson Lake
"I was gripped!"—Sara Foster, author of The Hush
"A thrilling novel with a fantastic setting and a plot that unfolds with a devastating resolution."—Kayte Nunn, author of The Botanist’s Daughter
"A smart and twisty thriller, with each beat of the plot timed to perfection."—Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault
Praise for The Safe Place:
“[Downes is] skilled at ratcheting up the tension and conveying Emily’s sense of thrumming unease . . . an unusual and thrilling narrative.”—The New York Times
“Downes keeps the sense of foreboding building . . . Emily is a compelling character who arrives in France scatterbrained and immature but find the inner strength to save herself.”—The Washington Post
“Downes imbues The Safe Place with a strong sense of the gothic, keeping the suspense high and the tension in the Querencia household palpable. Surrounded by decay, Emily proves her mettle as her maturation and emotional growth enhance the solid plot with its myriad surprises and twists. The Safe Place delivers a deliciously creepy debut.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Secrets are laid bare, and the novel moves toward a conclusion that melds sorrow with satisfaction, ruin with redemption. She does so with evocative and insightful prose, striking characters and a plot that’s astute, addictive and alarming. Downes, who draws on her past for elements of The Safe Place, shows great promise and creates equally great expectations.”—The Free Lance-Star
“The perfect summer mystery read.”—PopSugar
“I absolutely devoured The Safe Place, and lived and breathed every second. The images Anna Downes creates are so vivid and real that I was transported between Soho and France in the flick of an eye. I had no idea where it was going; I just knew I had to hold onto Emily’s coattails and go along for the ride. This one is going to fly! If you love a suspense thriller with a punch, I’d highly recommend The Safe Place.”—Sandie Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Woman
“[A] mix of romantic escapism and gothic menace. Ruth Ware fans may want to check this one out.”—Publishers Weekly
“Downes' debut novel is a slow burn of a story with Emily picking up on snippets of conversations as a breadcrumb trail leads her to an astounding conclusion. A great read for those looking for a side of mystery with their women's fiction.”—Booklist