Review: Season of Shadow and Light by Jenn J McLeod

Season of Shadow and Light by Australian author Jenn J McLeod is almost certain to delight fans and new readers alike. Featuring a cast of strong female characters this novel examines the concept of nature versus nurture and questions under what circumstances is it acceptable to break a promise.

The novel opens with Paige, a wife and mother who has lived a seemingly privileged life in a wealthy, upper-middle class suburb of Sydney. She has a wealthy husband, a wonderful daughter and her much-loved stepmother, Alice, lives in the house next door. However, there has been some dark moments in Paige's life of late--her son was stillborn and she has suffered a stroke, which has robbed her of her sense of taste and smell. Added to that is the discovery of a betrayal by her husband and it is completely understandable while Paige may not be feeling the best. She decided that a break is needed and with Alice and Paige's daughter, Matilda, in tow, she takes a road trip that leads to Coolabah Tree Gully, which in turn leads them to some surprising people, one of whom seems quite different on the surface, but who may be closer to Paige than she first realises ...

Season of Shadow and Light was an enjoyable read, one that kept me up well into the evening as I wondered how the terrible secret that Alice had been trusted with would be resolved. Although Paige was a strong and likeable character and it was wonderful to read about her blossoming relationship with Aiden, for me it Alice who I truly admired throughout the story. An exceptionally strong woman, Alice has suffered and sacrificed much, yet she has a lot of love for the people around her. Alice's reasons for her actions are something best left to be discovered by the reader, so I will not describe them in detail, but I will say that I was impressed by the character and how she handles a difficult set of circumstances. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed is the way each character and relationship is treated with respect and sensitivity. There is also a bit of fun with wordplay, as readers will discover in the first few pages.

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC.

P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for the Season of Shadow and Light blog tour:


Unknown said…
Loved this book so much - Jenn just gets better and better by the looks of things! Alice created a bit of angst in me and I got annoyed with her at times but eventually I came to my senses with Jenn's deft hand. Great review.
Kathryn White said…
Thank you, Marcia!

I'll admit, I got annoyed with Alice a couple of times too, but the way the story came together and the way that Alice resolved things was absolutely commendable and I ended up loving the character and re-reading a number of her scenes. I love the scene where Alice and Rory are talking and we get to see a read glimpse of these two, strong women trying to do the best they know how.

I think Jenn's real brilliance as an author is her ability to show what it is like to walk in another persons shoes and how people can be shaped by their experiences.

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