Sally Cronin’s Five Star Review of Judith Barrow’s excellent new book: Pattern of Shdaows.
A masterful step back into a difficult time when war on the home front held its own dangers.
Pattern of Shadows is the first book in the story of the families from a mining community who face the war years and the aftermath with courage, love and also defiance. At the heart of the story is Mary who as a nursing sister combines compassion with pragmatism. She brings comfort to boys far from home who are not only severely wounded but also prisoners of war. However, on the home front there is also a hostile environment between father and son, husbands and wives and between lovers.
The characters are very believable from the caring and increasingly frustrated Mary trying to cope with her flighty sister Ellen and antagonistic father and brother, to the seemingly charming Frank Shuttleworth who inserts himself into their lives.
Forbidden love blossoms despite the scrutiny of the prison camp and the close knit community and dangers lurk in the shadows.
The war years, life in the prison camp and the community is excellently researched. For those of us whose parents lived through the war years and talked to us about the hardships and the community spirit, it is as if we have stepped back in time.
I rarely read a book these days in under a couple of weeks due to time constraints but I made time for this book. I had bought all three of the current series and am now half way through Changing Patterns which is just as engaging.
If you enjoy a story that flows, wonderful writing, characters that draw you in and along with them, you will love Pattern of Shadows. Since you are unlikely to stop at just the first of the series you might as well buy the current three at the same time. They are available in print and E-versions.