Title: Secrets in the Shadows
Author: T L Haddix
Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Streetlight Graphics Publishing (March 29, 2010)
Thirteen years after a relative attempted to rape her, Lauren is still living with the after effects. Her marriage hasn’t survived, but friendship with her ex-husband has and they share custody of their daughter. Just as a new man moves to town and looks to be up to the job of helping Lauren try to face love and intimacy again, disaster strikes and the past comes back to haunt her.
The first in the Shadows Collection from T L Haddix, Secrets in the Shadows is a disturbing read. It looks at incest, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and sheer hatred. This is not a gentle, afternoon by the fire.
It is however a compelling read with realistic and engaging – often heartbreaking – characters. Lauren is very realistic in her reactions to both the growing violence in her town and toward the men who try to get close to her – reactions that hinge entirely on what happened to her in the past. As she tries to find resolve the past, she is forced to confront the issues that have controlled her and her relationships so she can make new choices and move forward.
The romance, while a central theme, never overwhelms the plot or minimises the ugly reality of sexual abuse. It is realistic in the way that it plays out naturally simply as the story unfolds; after all isn’t that how love occurs in reality?
Haddix writes in a simple, honest style that allows the characters to tell their story without fanfare or artifice.
I was impressed with this tale and gratified that while the ending was happy, it was not saccharine in any way. Love may have won – but it was not unscathed and that too is true to life.
By Angelique Jurd for The Kindle Book Review