Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Beneath the Shadows.
When Grace and Adam move from the bustle of London to his deceased grandparentís cottage in North Yorkshire with their new baby, the couple plans to adapt from city to country, giving baby Millie a simpler existence in the bargain. But soon after their arrival, Adam disappears while on a walk with Millie. Grace finds the infant in her carriage on the porch, but no sign of Adamóever again.
After moving to France with her parents for a year, Grace returns to Roseby and Hawthorne Cottage to sort out their belongings before renovating with her small savings and renting out the property. The cottage not only evokes memories of her life with Adam but also nagging questions left unresolved by his loss. With growing suspicion of something terribly amiss, Grace drifts into her own investigation of Adamís shocking disappearance, sorting through boxes of memorabilia and casting inquisitive eyes on the other villagers.
While there is no real sense of palpable menace, Foster builds on Graceís uneasiness in the cottage and an aura of secrecy that has pervaded the village since Grace and Millieís return. A book on local ghosts written by Adamís grandmother adds to her nascent fears. Not that Grace believes in ghosts, but in this isolated place, blanketed in snow and without friends or family, Grace realizes that her presence carries a higher emotional price than she expected. Still, she canít move on until she does everything possible to solve the mystery of what happened to Adam. Sorting through an attic and cellar filled with boxes yields an unexpected series of revelations, even letters documenting Adamís close ties forged during the short time he lived with his grandparents after his motherís death from cancer.
Gleaning bits of information from the most prominent and historically connected family with long roots in the village, Graceís warm welcome turns strained the more she seeks answers, a gracious family matriarch becoming distant and unfriendly as the story unfolds. The characters add as much flavor to the novel as the ominous winter landscape, a swath of silent moors in every direction. Graceís sister, Annabel, a journalist, comes from London for short visits, including a stressful Christmas with too many expectations, enthused by local lore of ghostly haunting, interviewing whomever she can in hopes of unearthing a feature story. An enigmatic handyman adds another layer of mystery, as do the many siblings of Rosebayís most prominent family; dominated by the woman Grace believes may have the answers she seeks about Adamís family history in the area.
Though the case has long grown cold, Grace pursues every lead with a fury, unwilling to relegate Adam to the past. Often near panic, she pushes on in the face of her suspicions, nightmares and strange happenings, untangling a dark web of treachery, secrets and deceit. Foster builds on Adamís shocking disappearance to create the creepy atmosphere of unseen threatóand things that go bump in the nightóa mystery set in snowbound Northern Yorkshire, where the worst thing of all is finding no answer for the loss of a loving husband.