Tuesday, October 26, 2021



Prepare to be spellbound. Barbara Frances' long-awaited third novel, “Shadow's Way,” takes you to the coastal, deep South, where the past and the present mingle in a gothic tale of insanity, murder, and sexual intrigue.

You'll meet the beautiful Elaine Chauvier, former actress and proprietor of Shadow's Way, her family's antebellum home; the esteemed Archbishop Andre Figurant and his fallen identical twin, Bastien; newly arrived Ophelia and Rudy, here to explore their Chauvier roots and their ties to Shadow's Way; and the mysterious Madame Claudine. Under a veneer of piety and graciousness, i.e., the questions: What is good? What is evil? What is reality?

Fans of Agatha Christie and her enormous ensemble casts will find many enjoyable parallels in the work and structure of author Barbara Frances. I particularly enjoyed the setting for this tale, playing on the traditional tropes of the Southern gothic genre, but also adding many flairs and twists from ghost stories, fables and psychological horror works. Both the characters and plot are multi-faceted, giving readers a lot to follow, but also a lot to gain from paying close attention to each clue and motivation. The mystery itself sometimes takes a back seat when the (often literal) ghosts and shadows take over, playing with the characters’ sensibilities and forcing them to ask much deeper questions of themselves and others. What results is an emotive but also thoughtful, spooky mystery novel. I would highly recommend Shadow’s Way to mystery and gothic fiction fans looking for something new, unique and really well crafted

Ms. Francis’ novel Shadow’s Way, had me enthralled from page one, it kept me reading until so late into the night that I used a flashlight in order not to wake my husband.

I’ve always enjoyed reading gothic tales, but this one went beyond most that I had read. The synopsis was correct, past and present mingled and left me on the edge of my seat. Was G – G – Daddy a real paranormal experience or a figment of Elaine Chauvier’s imagination, which got worse as she sunk deeper into insanity?

I loved the various characters that Ms. Francis brought into play as needed to heighten the story. They were well rounded and interconnected in ways that one has to keep reading to get the full picture.

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