What if the life you were remembering wasn’t your own?
Pamela Hartshorne knows how to intrigue her readers. This is the fourth of her time slip, historical fiction novels I’ve read, and each time I've found myself hooked from the first lines and wanting to go through the pages as quick as possible to uncover the mysteries surrounding the protagonists. I was travelling through Scotland (the book is set in Yorkshire, in the North of England) while reading House of Shadows and I longed to open my copy on any possible occasion and was late at night to go on reading.
It is a haunting story shifting constantly and twistingly between two time lines, from a present-day reality to the alluring Tudor Era, but with only one place as its heart: Askerby Hall, the house of shadows.
The central character, Kate Vavasour, wakes up from a coma in a hospital bed and the reader can follow her confused, uncertain steps back to life from right inside her mind, where she is convinced she is someone else, Isabel Vavasour, and where there is no sign of recognition of any of the worried people surrounding her.
She can vivdly remember Isabel’s life, her love for her handsome husband, Edmund, and the overwhelming tenderness she felt becoming the mother of their son, Kit. Kate realizes she is not Isabel, especially because that young woman lived under the reign of the other Queen Elizabeth, and perfectly knows that all she sees around her belongs to a totally different present. Still her mind goes on working very oddly and Isabel is a constant haunting presence. Kate find herself incapable of feeling anything for her own son, Felix, nor she recalls mourning her late husband, Michael. She has no memory of them, she has forgotten the feelings she felt for them and, definitely, she can’t explain why she climbed up Askerby tower, from which she fell down and only miraculously survived.