Tuesday, April 4, 2023

After The Shadows By Amanda Cabot

After the Shadows
by Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Series: Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing
ISBN: 9780800740641

Having never read anything by Amanda Cabot before, then seeing this cover, I jumped at the chance to try her out. I was sent the book for review from Revell.


A brighter future awaits--if she can escape the shadows of the past 

Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town.

Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father's death--and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. As they work to uncover the truth, they just may find the key to unlock a future neither could have imagined.

My Review:

If you enjoy Little House on the Prairie and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman then I think you would enjoy After the Shadows. I would even say When Calls the Heart.

I really came to care for Emily. She has dealt with some awful things in a very short period of time. One of the most horrible is abuse from her husband. Emily has a gentle and kind spirit who cares for the people of Sweetwater Crossing. Amidst all of the tragedy around her, she keeps a cool head and a welcoming heart.

She walks into a hornet's nest when she returns home and sees her youngest sister, Louisa. Louisa has had to deal with a LOT and to say she's disgruntled would be putting it mildly. The choices Emily is forced to make don't go well with Louisa to say the least.

Then we meet the next main characters of Craig and his toddler son, Noah. Let's just put it out there right now that Noah is absolutely adorable! Craig, himself, has lived through the tragedy of losing his wife and is hoping to start over in this new town. As a teacher he certainly has his challenges with the bullies in the classroom. I loved how the author used him as an example of handling hard situations with logic and not corporal punishment.

Things get pretty strange almost immediately. People of the town start dropping like flies. The odd thing is, no one questions it. They're just seen as "being old". It was rather surprising that no one wondered what might be going on in this little town. That is until Craig comes alongside Emily to help her figure things out.

While the story was nice, it was also a bit hard for me to get fully into it. Some of the characters were a bit over-the-top with their behaviors. And some moments were very jarring with behaviors and not quite understanding what was going on with the side stories. Like I mentioned, people were dropping like flies. There was a family who showed up in town temporarily and they reminded me of Nels, Harriet, and Nellie Olsen from LHotP. I didn't understand the point of them being in the story. Also, Emily's family has been in the town for a long time and seem like they were loved, but much of the townspeople treat Emily poorly. Like when Alice, her best friend, shows up towards the end of the story accusing her of something - just out of the blue. Same with the former teacher. It's like they're really mean and angry and then they're best of buddies. It was hard to get super invested in those moments.

One part of the story that I absolutely loved was Beulah. She has Down syndrome and the way the author handles her and those who rally around her is wonderful! Beulah is a very real-feeling character. I could completely imagine how those in the town wouldn't want her to be around the other school children. How the author used Emily and Craig in her life just put a smile on my face throughout!

Louisa's story comes next and I certainly hope she softens throughout the next story so that she's more appealing as a main character. Of course, I hope she isn't magically sweet and kind, but goes through a growth in her own life.

About the Author:

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of After the Shadows, as well as several historical and contemporary romance series, including Mesquite Springs, Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com.


Cindy said...

I am almost done with the book and I agree with your review. I am so "done" with people dying! It's an odd but intriguing (in its own way) story.

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