Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lunn

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Book Reviews, Ontario | 0 comments

Summary: Connected to her cousin Duncan in a way she can’t explain, Mary hears him call to her from his home in Upper Canada all the way at her home in Scotland. Mary wastes no time in finding a way to book passage to Canada, but when she finally gets there she finds the news is too terrible to believe – Duncan is dead, and her aunt and uncle have already gone back to Scotland. Alone in a country she doesn’t understand with neighbours who are helpful but don’t believe in things like fairies and ghosts and having second sight, Mary decides to work and save money for passage back to Scotland. Living on her family’s vacated estate haunts her though, and it isn’t until she learns what really happened to Duncan that she is free to do what she wants.

Number of Pages: 216

Age Range: 13-15

Review: I love the idea Janet Lunn presents her reader with at the end of the novel, that Scotland is an ancient country, and alot of people lived there before Mary did. But Canada is different. In Canada, Mary herself is one of the first. And perhaps that explains why she doesn’t find the same mystical history there as she knew in Scotland. Instead, the people who have died during Mary’s time will be the ghosts haunting people in the future. She and others are building Canada’s history simply by living their lives.

It’s beautifully written story, vivid and descriptive, but the base of it is something I didn’t expect from Lunn, a highly controlling and abusive relationship. Even from the death Duncan manages to hold on to Mary by haunting her constantly. I wondered early on how he died, and I have to give kudos to Lunn because I did not figure things out ahead of time. Her revelation of Duncan’s true intentions is perfectly unfolded, although I did feel it took a long time to get to that unveiling.

I loved the characters though. They were vibrant and unique, and I especially loved how they meshed together to create a supportive community.

My favourite part lies in the last quote I included in the Memorable Quotes section. Luke is an excellent love interest for Mary, especially after Duncan, and the way he voices his affection for her and his intention to marry her was just simple, concise, and heartfelt.

I would recommend Shadow in Hawthorn Bay for mid to older female teen readers looking for a bit of romance.

Memorable Quotes:

“Temper flared in Mary, hot and sudden. ‘Am I so very funny?’ she cried. ‘Am I more funny than Julia Colliver or Sarah Pritchard or you who bounce around like a great, blue hen shouting out every word that comes into your head, telling all the world that is not like yourself that it is funny? I am not funny! I came here by myself because. . . because I had good reason. But I will not stay. And I do not mean to marry.'” – Mary from Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lunn, page 137

“‘We were as one, it is what we both thought – did we think about it at all? Reflections, our mams said, and we could not see, not you, not me, that life could be without the other. But – ‘ Mary had a flash of understanding that made her gasp and spring to her feet. ‘But Duncan,’ she cried aloud, ‘I did go on without you! Even at home after you had gone. But you could not go on without me. You turned from me for four years – four long years. When you wanted to die, then you called. You wanted me to die with you.’ She sank back into her chair. ‘What you did was not my fault,’ she whispered, ‘it was not. Luke was right. A shadow, he said.’ Wonderingly she repeated it aloud. ‘A shadow. Alive and dead, you were like a shadow. And I thought I could not manage life without you. I thought you were so strong because you were beautiful and exciting. Time was I would follow you anywhere. When you called me I could not believe evil of you. I thought it must be a devil. Mam was right.'” – Mary from Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lunn, page 200

“‘I never met anybody like you before,’ Luke stared fixedly at a spot somewhere just above Mary’s head. ‘It’s what I told you – I never give a thought to marrying before you come,’ he said slowly and this time he did look at her. ‘But I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t like they say about getting sweet on someone, it was like looking at someone I was supposed to be with, and I wasn’t even all that surprised. It just felt natural and I guess I figured you’d be bound to feel that same sooner or later.'” – Luke from Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lunn, page 207

Shadow in Hawthorn Bay by Janet Lunn is published by Puffin Books (1986).

(Buy this book: Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Booksellers)

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