About the Book
More than thirty years after thirteen-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.
When modern DNA evidence reveals that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona?
Soon Sarah and Tom find themselves caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and everyone is a suspect.
The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears.
Sewing the Shadows Together is about Tom, whose younger sister Shona was raped and murdered when they were teenagers. He still carries the guilt of not being there to protect her and it haunts him in the present day many years later. Sarah was Shona’s best friend and she is also still haunted by the loss. Tom and Shona meet again at a school reunion and while Tom is back in Edinburgh they find out the man convicted of killing Shona has been cleared with modern DNA techniques.
This novel is set in the present day but those chapters are interspersed with recollections from the past in the lead up to, and aftermath of, Shona’s murder. I loved the story being told in this way as I wanted to see how everything would connect up. I had my suspicions about who had really killed Shona, and while I can sort of claim that I guessed right I would really be fibbing a little bit as I suspected a lot of the people in this book!
Tom is such a great character. His life has clearly been hugely affected by the death of his sister. He’s lost his ambition to achieve big things in life and instead has been floating along aimlessly seeing what happens. It definitely felt like his life would have been so different had his sister not died. I really felt for him because losing someone young, when you’re also still young, is profoundly affecting and it changes you. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose someone in such a horrific and traumatic way though.
I also really liked Sarah. I did feel that she is something of a doormat within her family – she puts up with a distracted husband, a domineering mother, and is somehow not up to speed with what is happening in her (grown up) children’s lives. She is always doing her best though and she really does care. I can see how she ended up as she is, it’s that juggling act of trying to keep everyone happy and it so often being at the expense of yourself. I was rooting for her and hoping that she would find some happiness for herself.
Apart from Tom and Sarah I didn’t particularly like anyone in this novel but I do so enjoy reading about unlikeable characters. It worked so well in this book as it gave a lot of potential suspects. Everyone in the novel is well-rounded and there is a complexity to the characters – no one seemed all bad or all good and so it made it harder to figure out whodunnit.
Ultimately, Sewing the Shadows Together is a brilliant crime novel. It has a depth to it and while the solving the crime is the central plot there are other things going on that add interest and make this book near impossible to put down! I bought this book when it was first published but didn’t read it until recently and I’m really kicking myself for leaving it so long. It is such a brilliant debut and I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Alison Baillie’s novels in the future!
Sewing the Shadows Together is gripping, engrossing and an all-round brilliant read! I highly recommend it!
I purchased my copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
Sewing the Shadows Together is out on 12 March and available here.
About the Author
Alison Baillie was born in Scarborough of Scottish parents and lived in County Durham, Somerset and the Yorkshire Dales before going to university in Scotland. She then taught English in several Edinburgh secondary schools before moving to Switzerland where she still lives now. She’s taught English as a Foreign Language in Finland and Switzerland.
When she stopped teaching full-time, she fulfilled a life-time ambition and wrote Sewing the Shadows Together, a psychological suspense novel inspired in part by events when she was teaching in Scotland. She is fascinated by the way we are influenced by the events of our past and has now written a second novel, A Fractured Winter, set in Switzerland, Scotland and Yorkshire.
She has two sons and three grandchildren and is proud of their international roots, having a mixture of Scottish, Swiss, Polish and Finnish heritage. As well as spending time with them, she loves travelling, walking in the mountains and by the sea, reading and writing.
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17 thoughts on “Book Review: Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie | @alisonbailliex @Bloodhoundbook”
Ooh thanks for introducing me to a new author! This sounds like a fantastic read, definitely one to check out. Great review!
Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. 🙂
I do like stories where past and present are inter-related like that, Hayley. And it sounds as though there are some solid characters in the novel, too. Very glad you liked it.
It was such a good read and I’m so pleased to find the author has other books out for me to catch up with.
I’d not heard of this book or author before, Hayley, and I love how powerful this sounds! Terrific review!
Thank you 🙂
This one sounds good, plus I love crime books set in places I know, great review 🙂
Thank you 🙂 It’s a great read, I recommend it.
Now I see why you loved it so much!!! Love your review x
Thanks Hayley for this wonderful review. You have really ‘got’ the book and I love the way you write! x
Thank you, that’s so lovely of you to say. I loved your book, I’ll be recommending it to everyone. 🙂 x
I do enjoy this genre and stories that have unlikable characters.I’m very curious how this one ends.
i HAVE THIS ONE ON MY Netgally list and I’m really looking forward to it after your great review
Thank you 🙂 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I read and reviewed this title back in April of 2017 and remember it as a 5-star read.
I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner, it was such a good read. I’ll definitely be looking out for more books by Alison Baillie.
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