Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop inTHINGS HALF IN SHADOW, an historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid young crime reporter. Edward Clark lives in comfortable circumstances with a lovely, well-connected fiancée. Then an assignment to write a series of exposés on the city’s mediums places all that in jeopardy. In the Philadelphia of 1869, photographs of Civil War dead adorn dim sitting rooms, and grieving families attempt to contact their lost loved ones. Edward’s investigation of the beautiful young medium Lucy Collins has unintended consequences, however. He uncovers her tricks, but realizes to his dismay that Lucy is more talented at blackmail than she is at a medium’s sleights of hand. And since Edward has a hidden past, he reluctantly agrees that they should collaborate in exposing only her rivals. The mysterious murder of noted medium Lenora Grimes Pastor as Lucy and Edward attend her séance results in a plum story for Edward—and a great deal more. The pair want to clear themselves from suspicion, but a search spanning the houses of the wealthy to the underside of nineteenth-century Philadelphia unearths a buzzing beehive of past murder, current danger, and supernatural occurrences that cannot be explained…Blending historical detail with flights of fancy, THINGS HALF IN SHADOW is a riveting thriller where nothing is quite as it seems—and readers are sure to be entranced through to the end.
Bubby: Take one young man who has been given a mission to rid Philadelphia of its false mediums and spiritualists, add one determined above-mentioned false medium (who is also young and beautiful), mix well with a dash of romance and a generous helping of murder and finish off with a garnish of secrets, lies and mysteries and you have Things Half in Shadow. I was drawn in right off the bat and every time I was sure I knew what was going to happen next, I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, I am left with many unanswered questions which I hope will be resolved in a sequel at some point.
Sissy: The whole book was so intriguing and I honestly had no idea “whodunnit” and I still have so many questions! Will Edward choose Lucy or Violet? Will he solve the mystery of the Praediti? Will the Magnificent Magellan ever be sprung from the hoosegow? I almost want Bubby to have a séance and ask the spirits of the dead (except that I don’t like that stuff and Bubby is too much of a scaredycat to do it).
Bubby: You know, back in the day, I think we could have made millions as mediums or fortune-tellers. We could have dressed up in our Indian silks and our dangling golden earrings and rigged up all sorts of moving tables and floating apparitions. I can just see Sissy now, her head wrapped in a scarlet turban, connecting with the ghost of Mahatma, an elephant mahout from 1600’s India.
Sissy: Well I WOULD certainly look fetching in a scarlet turban but I’m too honest to be a charlatan and we’d probably just end up laughing hysterically and not fooling anyone! Things Half in Shadow had some really interesting historical figures and notes, like the inclusion of P.T. Barnum, and how spiritualism became so popular after the Civil War.
Bubby: As much as I enjoyed the story and plot, I have to say that the characters just delighted me, especially poor Edward with all his secrets and his conflicting desires, and Lucy, the very antithesis of what a lady of that period is supposed to be. She has opinions! And isn’t afraid to share them! I just adored her. I hope that Edward throws off the socially acceptable and sweet tempered Miss Violet and goes for a woman with some sauce in her soul!
Sissy: I enjoyed Mrs Pastor and immediately liked Stoker, her butler. Thomas, Lucy’s brother, needs to be sent to military school. A highly inventive tale is Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn, and I really do hope there is more to come!
Bubby: We found this delightful trailer on Alan Finn’s website and thought you, dear reader, would like to see it here: Things Half in Shadow
Click HERE to buy Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn at Amazon.com
We received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review.