If you like the paranormal, and creepy haunted houses with a dark romantic twist, venture into the estate called, Shadow Ley.
“Shit,” Kellyn O’Brien complained as she negotiated another turn. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains had more than their share of winding roads. At the five-mile marker, she found the turn off to Reservation Road. A quick left, then a right, brought her to a wrought iron gate that barred her entrance. Shutting off the engine, she glanced back at Scott. Her two year-old son slept with a sippy cup clutched in his hand as if his life depended on it.
Getting out of the car, she approached a gate that stood at least six feet high and was topped with heavy spikes. Grabbing the rigid metal, she gave it a good shake. The lock held while rust-colored needles fell on top of her like rain. She glanced around, unnerved by thick pine trees and underbrush. It looked as if the gate hadn’t been opened in ages. All was dark gray and green, spider webs dancing in spiky boughs.
A razor-sharp wind picked up, blowing her scarf across her face. She whipped it away as she stumbled over a rock. Without notice, her stomach gave way to morning sickness that only occurred in the afternoon, and she retched painfully. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she approached the Prelude where her newly awakened son babbled at an invisible presence in the back seat. Her heart sank as she realized he was up to his tricks with his imaginary friend, Man. She opened the driver’s side door and sat down.
Scott giggled. “Man!”
Covering her weariness, she glanced back at the empty seat next to him. “Man?”
“Yes. Nice man.”
“Very nice man.”
Kellyn’s hands shook as much from the cold as from exhaustion. Closing the car door, she peered out the window. The solicitors had promised her the gate would be unlocked for her arrival. She sighed. Trouble was something she had come to expect. Life had been challenging, first as an orphan, then as a foster child. She considered herself toughened, relished challenges, and met head-on whatever circumstances came her way. She thought herself emotionally strong, but the death of her husband and the strain of her pregnancy had stretched her resilience almost to the breaking point.
“Cain I hep ya?” a tobacco-thickened voice asked from outside the car.
Startled, she glanced up, instinctively clutching her purse as she rolled down the window. An elderly man stood before her dressed in filthy corduroy pants with a small, stained, gray T-shirt that read See the Grand Canyon Today! His coat was at least two sizes too large and hung on a skeletal frame. The old man scratched his beard then sucked on his teeth.
“You Kellyn?” he asked, sticking his head toward the opened car window.
She stared back at large canine-like yellow teeth, chipped and stained. “I’m Kellyn O’Brien. Are you Henry?”
He nodded and his glasses slipped down his nose. He pushed them up with a gnarled, blue-veined finger. “Sorry ’bout keeping ya out here. I was busy up at the house ’en just made it to the gate.”
“Can you let me in?” She wondered at his voice. For a moment, it had sounded odd—bereft of emotion and tinny. She laughed at herself. Fanciful thoughts for a pregnant woman, she mused.
Needles crunching underfoot, the air perfumed with pine, Henry muttered to himself as he fumbled in his pocket. He withdrew a thick iron key and unlocked the gate. It swung outward before coming into contact with a large pinecone.
“Widdamaker,” Henry said, puffing. Visibly distressed, he pulled the pinecone from between the gate and the dirt. His legs shook with the effort.
“What?” With her head poked out the window, she shivered in the cold, almost missing his last remark. Thick heavy clouds roiled overhead, threatening rain or snow.
“Widdamaker cone,” he yelled. His large fingers curled around the heavy seedpod as he walked toward the car. “No good for nothing, ’cept to hit ya on the head ’en knock ya out.”
Concerned, she clicked the shoulder harness into place and relocked the car door. Scotty opened his pudgy hands as she glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
“I see, Mommy?”
She shook her head, catching his eye. “No, Scott. It’s dirty.”
The old man continued, “You watch out for these things, missus. They can kill a grown man. Or woman.”
A Shadow of Time by Louann Carroll was a little different story from my usual read. I seldom have dreams about novels I'm reading, but this one must have hit a nerve. It scared me. Of course, I like someone to try to scare me. :)
Kellyn O'Brien has just been widowed, has a young son, and is four months pregnant. Not a position most young women would want to find themselves in. On top of that, she learns her husband lied to her from the start about his family. He told Kellyn he'd been adopted, the same as she had been. After he dies, Kellyn is left pretty much penniless, but she soon learns her son has inherited her husband's family home. After the shock wears off she learns she could be set up pretty much for life with both children, all she has to do is move into Shadow Ley, a large home located in the California foothills, with her children. Doesn't seem like much of a hardship, until she gets there.
Shadow Ley is not what it first appears. There is strange goings on there, such as rooms that magically clean themselves, furniture and floors repaired right in front of them. And there could be a djinn living beneath the enormous home named Shenahobet, a guardian of sorts, and he might have evil in mind where Kellyn, her kids, and her new friends, are concerned. Kellyn and her friends soon learn they have more in common than they thought even. All of them have experienced strange dreams about past lives, but after Kellyn's arrival what were once only strange dreams become realistic visions during the daylight hours. Everyone is at a loss as to the meaning behind them.
A Shadow of Time is a novel one has to pay close attention to because of all the different twists and turns we take, not only in the present, but with lives they may have lived in the past. How much of their past lives are connected to the present, or even the future? Shadow Ley and Shenahobet are the connection Kellyn needs to figure out before one or all of them ends up hurt or killed. Somewhere in the past a wrong was done and if they don't find a way to correct it, these friends are destined to keep reliving it over and over again.
I enjoyed this story and the twists and turns involved as it escalates toward a surprise ending.
This book hooked me from the first page. It's so many things; it's a mystery, a gothic, and an epic love story all in one. The scenes are rich, the plot is intricate and the story is unpredictable. It's also a really smart read, and the whole book is filled with a neat blend of folklore and anthropological detail. I haven't read anything this good in a long time. Great book, I hope to read more by Ms. Carroll soon!
Kellyn is torn between keeping her growing family safe, fed, and living in a home; and leaving the only place she's known as home. Without Michael, it's going to be hard, and it's already breaking her heart. All she's ever really wanted was a home and a family.
Shadow Ley looms in her future, but can she live there, so far from home? She decides, yes, if it will mean she doesn't have to worry about her children. But, there's something strange going on inside the house, and all the legends say Shadow Ley is hiding a secret.
Then, into her life strolls Dr. John Aldrich, and the dreams start... sometimes with Michael and sometimes with another, and sometimes with the reincarnated image of John... and she discovers more than life extending beyond the mortal existence, but planes of existence that she can't even begin to imagine.
The question becomes.... even though Shadow Ley holds her past and her present, can she, her children, and her new love, John, survive the entity existing within its walls? Will it contain her future? Or bring her death?
A Shadow of Time by Louann Carroll is aptly named, it is but a shadow of time shown through the multidimensional layers of existence. Are these layers, planes, existing all at the same time? Are the shadows of the past? Visions from another time? Kellyn is both disturbed and intrigued, the legends surrounding her new home are mystifying. And the old caretaker, he seems to appear from nowhere and disappears just as quickly. Then, the anxiety attacks start again, making her question even her ability as a mother. Can she do this? Bring a new baby into her life when, already, she's struggling to keep Scotty and herself together? She has to make the best of it, Shadow Ley and the fortune attached to it, is her only hope. When the enigmatic doctor walks into her life, she drawn, and not only by the man he is now, but the one who visits her dreams, can they be one in the same? As terrified as she is, she comes to realize that her only hope for peace is to discover the answers and the destiny of Shadow Ley.
A Shadow of Time is a mesmerizing read. It captured my attention and held on to the very last page, and I have to say, I love the cover, the timepiece fits the story perfectly. I found myself relating to the main character, Kellyn, both disturbed and intrigued. The being living within Shadow Ley has been trapped and denied for so long, and now it's hungry, in fact, it's starving. It craves human interaction, it craves the souls of those living within its walls, it craves what it can't have and demands. It promises Kellyn peace and happiness, and only brings chaos. John doesn't want Kellyn living in the old monstrosity, but he's almost as drawn to the place as she is. It wants to capture him as well, revealing truths from the past, but will it be their future or swallow them whole? Will it trap them, use them, or will they break free, slay the monster, and live happily ever after?
A Shadow of Time tells a twisting story, multidimensional, much like the planes existing in the story. It's also a bit of a ghost story, a bit of a horror story, and a bit of a love story. It's a tale of twisted realities, past and present interposed on each other. If you love a tale that makes you question reality, you'll love A Shadow of Time. I certainly did. Ghost story lovers need to pick this one you, you'll be surprised at the depth of the story that lingers after the pages are finished. Paranormal Romance lovers will also love this story of love and redemption. You'll want to give it a try.
Five out of Five Fairy Kisses for the reader.