WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
The question begins to circle her as she hangs in the freezing dark water. The surface is only a few metres above, and she kicks her fins hard. Nothing happens. She is still trapped. Alone.
Desi Priest is coming home – but it’s not a joy filled homecoming. Two years ago she made a terrible mistake which shattered the lives of her family and that of her best friend, Rebecca. Some people are happy to see her – especially her good friend, Pete, who has been there for her for years. Others, like her daughter Maya have mixed feelings. It’s hard to forgive a mother who ahs missed so man important milestones. And others Desi is sure will not be happy to see her.
One person, though, Desi doesn’t expect to be waiting for her. There is a woman she has never met who shares a bond with Desi and with Maya. She has come seeking Desi’s help. If Desi helps her, she is risking her life and her already fragile future. If she doesn’t she may be turning her back on her beliefs, and placing Maya at risk. As she struggles with both her past and the present, Desi and her family come to grips with what has happened and face some uncomfortable truths.
Shallow Breath could easily have been an overcomplicated novel – there are seven or eight viewpoint characters, settings in five continents, and a slew of issues being addressed. But Foster draws them all together beautifully, and the switches are part of the layering of understanding which takes the reader on a journey towards understanding what has gone on and what is happening now. Several of the ke characters are animal lovers, keen to rescue or help animals including dolphins, whale sharks, elephants and kangaroos, and this is linked too to issues of domestic abuse and violence, ensuring that the various subplots link. Foster also has a keen sense of place, and West Australian readers will love the setting of Yanchep and Atlantis Marine Park both during its years of operation and now, abandoned as it is.
Shallow Breath invites breathless anticipation, building towards a shocking climax. It is a really satisfying read.
Shallow Breath, by Sara Foster
Available from good bookstores and online.
When Grace and her husband move to a cottage on the North Yorkshire moors, it is supposed to mark a new start for them. Adam has inherited the cottage and, with a new baby to care for, it seems a chance to have a home of their own could not come at a better time. But they’ve barely unpacked when Adam disappears, leaving Grace and her daughter, Millie, alone…
There was a dark shape on her doorstep. ..She headed to the front door. Once there, she twisted the key in the lock, pulled it open and stopped in shock.
In front of her was Millie’s pram. She peered inside to find her ten week old daughter fast asleep…
Grace ran her fingers gently over her daughter’s forehead, then glanced around and said , ‘Adam?’
No one answered.
When Grace and her husband move to a cottage on the North Yorkshire moors, it is supposed to mark a new start for them. Adam has inherited the cottage and, with a new baby to care for, it seems a chance to have a home of their own could not come at a better time. But they’ve barely unpacked when Adam disappears, leaving Grace and her daughter, Millie, alone.
A year later, Grace reruns to the cottage to seek closure. She may never know what happened to Adam, but it is time to move on. But the longer she spends in the village of Roseby the more unsettled she feels. Are the people here trying to hide something from her – and who, if anyone, can she trust?
Beneath the Shadows is an absorbing blend of mystery and self-discovery, with the character of Grace growing as she tackles the mystery of what happened to her husband. Unravelling the past, and the events of the present, will draw readers deep into author Sara Foster’s magical web, wanting to know what happened – and why and wanting to see the likeable main character find closure and happiness.
This is Foster’s second novel. Her readers will eagerly await a third.
Beneath the Shadows, by Sara Foster
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online through Fishpond.
She watched Alex’s eyes widen as he went to shake Julia’s hand. He took a tiny sharp breath and swayed slightly, then he quickly put his free hand on the back of his chair to steady himself, whilst the other one, although still held out, dropped like a flower in sudden wilt.
‘Nice to meet you…Julia?’ he said, in a broken, tremulous voice unlike anything Chloe had heard come from him before.
When Chloe and her husband Alex are invited to dinner with her workmate Mark, Chloe doesn’t expect the evening to change their lives. But when she introduces Alex to Mark’s date, Julia, it is instantly apparent that something is wrong.
In the days that follow, Chloe’s world seems to be falling apart as she comes to learn that there are things she doesn’t know about Alex’s past. For Alex, the chance meeting with Julia forces him to confront the events of ten years previous, and to help Julia do the same – even though he must risk his marriage to do so.
Come Back to Me is a wonderful debut novel. The stories of the four main characters are interwoven, with the reader taken on a journey through their past lives and the present, with revelations continuing right till the end. Set primarily in London, but with key scenes playing out in Western Australia, the story brings together settings from the author’s life – born and raised in England, she has recently settled in Australia.
There is nothing not to like about this story – intriguing characters, plot twists, action and beautiful writing combine to produce a satisfying package.
Come Back to Me, by Sara Foster
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.