The Double Shadow – Sally Gardner

The Double Shadow is Sally Gardner’s latest novel, targeted at older teens and one of the first releases from Orion’s new young adult imprint, Indigo.  I’ve read and loved most of Sally’s previous books including the excellent I, Coriander and The Silver Blade as well as her wonderful books for younger children which are reread frequently in our household.   This new novel is a new venture for Sally as it is aimed at an older age group and is, in the author’s own words, ” a family sci-fi saga”.

Our story begins in 1937 with Amaryllis Ruben, an impetuous, spoilt, almost 17 yr old, being expelled from yet another school.  Her father, widowed millionaire Arnold Ruben, hopes to atone for past errors and neglect by bestowing on his only child the “memory machine” which should erase all painful memories and preserve himself and Amaryllis in an alternate world safe from the impending war.  However this gift ends up  being more of a poisoned chalice and there are nefarious plots afoot to use the device for evil ends.

Sally Gardner has a wondrous almost wizardly way with words, using simple prose infused with touch of magic.  Her characters are so vividly present, you can appreciate her talent as an illustrator complementing her skills as a storyteller.  The result is a very special novel which sounds like it’s very much set in the 1930s yet remains accessible to modern readers.  It’s a story about relationships, between father and daughter, mother and son, man and wife.  It’s about love in all its shapes and forms.  It’s also about memories and how they can both comfort and haunt us, having a life of their own as a double shadow of our own reality.

If you want a novel which eschews current trends in YA literature, no zombies, nor vampires nor post-apocalyptic plains, then you will relish The Double Shadow, a compelling read which will hook you from the opening pages.  If you haven’t already read any of Sally’s other books, I would highly recommend I, Coriander The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade  .

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3 Comments

  1. I love Sally Gardner too, and just got my hands on a proof of this one. I am really looking forward to it.

  2. admin says:

    Mine was a proof too, Annabel, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have the chance to read it early! I’m keeping all my Sally Gardner books for my daughter when she’s older. I hope she loves them as much as I do!

  3. [...] See also Teresa’s review at Lovely Treez Reads [...]

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