Reviewer John M. Alleman: John holds
a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of West
Florida. His literary interests are numerous and eclectic, with a
special affinity for environmental ethics and
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Highly recommend Shadows in Summer for anyone ready for many an unsettling night of spine-tingling page turning
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Crescent Varrone’s Shadows in Summer: A Novel in Six Voices is a ghost story, but, make no mistake, Shadows in Summer is no half-baked tale spun on the fly by a summer camp counselor followed by a round of “Kumbaya”. Shadows in Summer tempers an account of a haunting full of spine-tingling events with a couple’s struggle with relocating to a country where one is an outsider, that same couple’s endeavor to rekindle their intimacy, one woman’s efforts to mend a fractured family, a mother’s wish for her son to recapture the faith of his boyhood, and much more.
Seven years prior to the setting of Shadows in Summer, Katrina left her home of Denmark to escape the grief of her beloved father’s death. While in the United States, she meets and marries Richard and embarks on a career as a professional ballet dancer. Alas, she suffers an injury that ends any prospects of continuing her career.
The novel begins with Katrina and Richard getting settled in and going house hunting in Katrina’s homeland. Katrina is returning to a land of mixed emotions with the hopes of facing the demons of her past while bridging the chasm between her and her mom and brother. Richard is embarking on uncharted territory whose native language he cannot seem to grasp, while finding employment in a company full of coworkers who seem to dislike him.
Working with a realtor who’s been a friend of Katrina’s family for years, Richard finds a house that seems to offer everything they need in this stage of their lives. Sound House—Richard and Katrina’s new home—isn’t the most comely of abodes, but it’s spacious and overlooks a lake called the Sound.
Things begin to go awry when the Nielson’s (Richard and Katrina) invite friends and coworkers, as well as their somewhat eccentric neighbor Soren, to a housewarming party. During the festivities the lights shut off unexpectedly, so Richard and a family friend (Edvard) go to the cellar to reset the circuit breaker. While Richard and Edvard are in the cellar, they are overcome with an eerie feeling and distinctly hear footsteps coming down the stairs without a body accompanying the sound. Meanwhile guests upstairs scream after a wineglass shatters. These events together lend an unnatural feeling to the air.
Events become more out of the ordinary, and, frankly, dangerous. Katrina falls down the cellar steps, convinced she’s been pushed by something that seemingly wasn’t there. More footsteps. Moving shadows. The smell of tobacco hanging in the air.
Each of the six narrators has a different view as to the implications of these seemingly supernatural events. One is radically skeptical, arguing that everything constitutes a series of flukes; another fully believes the events are a haunting. One is convinced the events are of a demonic nature; another thinks someone is playing a rather dangerous practical joke. One advises therapy and medication; another seems agnostically complacent.
These various viewpoints leave the reader questioning his or her own opinion towards the phenomena, even to the end.
I highly recommend Shadows in Summer to anyone ready for many an unsettling night of spine-tingling page turning.