Title: A Light Amongst Shadows
Publication Date: June 1, 2018
Length: 232 pages
Reviewed by Erin
James Spencer is hardly the typical “troubled youth” who ends up at Whisperwood School for Boys. Instead of hating the strict schedules and tight oversight by staff, James blossoms, quickly making friends and indulging in his love of writing, while contemplating the merits of sneaking love poems to the elusive and aloof William Esher.
The rumours about William’s sexuality and opium reliance are prime gossip material amongst the third years. Rumours that only further pique James' curiosity to uncover what William is really like beneath all that emotional armor. And, when the normally collected William stumbles in one night, shaken and ranting of ghosts... James is the only one who believes him.
James himself has heard the nails dragging down his bedroom door and the sobs echoing in the halls at night. He knows others have, too, even if no one will admit it. The staff refuses to entertain such ridiculous tales, and punishment awaits anyone who brings it up.
Their fervent denial and the disappearance of students only furthers James’s determination to find out what secrets Whisperwood is hiding... Especially if it means keeping William and himself from becoming the next victims.
I have to be honest, historical fiction is not my usual go-to. But, when you add in a paranormal element AND it's YA (Young Adult) well then, I'm going to give it a second look. When I read the blurb for A Light Amongst the Shadows by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood I was immediately intrigued --I mean it has ghosts, the main characters are LGBT+, and it takes place in a boarding school. (I have a thing for books set in boarding schools) Boy am I ever glad I gave this one a try. Just goes to show you ... trying new things can be pretty awesome!
Since this is a mystery, I'm not going to focus too much on the story itself because I don't want to spoil anything but I can mention a few things. First, I absolutely adored both James and William. I loved how each character was portrayed and their relationship was sweet and lovely and made me swoony sigh many times. They each have issues that need to be dealt with and they were handled carefully and deftly. It's always a bit of a tightrope when dealing with drug use to make it not come across as cliched or trite and that's definitely the case here. The authors handled this aspect brilliantly. Second, the setting. Man, it was creepy as all get out and the perfect backdrop. There were numerous times I got chills and if I didn't have to hold my Kindle, I would have read through my fingers. Talk about giving someone the heeby jeebies! I'm not one for horror or ghosts or really dark things but I really couldn't put this book down. I HAD to find out what was going on! Third, the time period. Like I said, historical fiction is not my usual thing, but for this book, the Victorian Era is on point. Since I''ve not read an abundance of historical romance I can't comment on the authenticity in A Light Amongst the Shadows, but from my own personal knowledge of the time period, it sure seems accurate and it really lent the most compelling atmosphere to the entire book.
This book had the perfect mix of romance and mystery and it made for one very captivating read. I was really on the edge of my seat for the whole thing. Between the ghosts, the characters, and trying to figure out exactly what was going on, I couldn't put the book down. Strong, tight writing, a plot unlike anything I've read, and characters that intrigued me and kept me invested from beginning to end made this one heck of a great book. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series because I'm definitely not ready to say goodbye to James and William. Be sure to check this one out people-you never know how much you might like something until you try it!
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