Sarah Tinsley’s haunting tale of rape and revenge will have readers on the edge of their seats. The Shadows We Cast leaves a lasting vision of the great lengths people will go to heal their minds.
- Title: The Shadows We Cast
- Author: Sarah Tinsley
- Publisher: SRL Publishing on January 25, 2022
- Genre: Thriller
- Pages: 338
- Available Formats: Paperback and Digital editions
- Rating: 5/5
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Violence
Many thanks to Sarah Tinsley for providing me with a digital copy of The Shadows We Cast with a request for an honest review.
About The Shadows We Cast
What if you couldn’t recognise the violence in others? Or in yourself?
Nina refuses to accept the role of passive victim after being sexually assaulted. She becomes obsessed with an online vendetta that risks her job, her friendships, and her sanity.
Eric thinks, if anything, he’s too nice. But when he takes advantage of a stranger he is forced to confront the kind of man he really is.
The Shadows We Cast is a dark novel about consent and control that unsettles ideas about victims and villains.Blurb Provided by Sarah Tinsley
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Nina gets drunk at a party. She’s wearing a short skirt and kissed a guy she just met. When he assumes Nina wants to sleep with him, they argue. All Nina knows is that she will never get the police to believe her. They will think Nina is at fault for her short skirt and drunkenness. But, Nina knows who the perpetrator is, and she vows revenge. But, what if what Nina thinks happened isn’t the way it happened at all? Will Nina lose her mind in the fight to seek revenge, or will she come away with all the answers and a destroyed soul?
I’m not going to lie. I didn’t enjoy Nina or any of the characters in this book. Their personalities rubbed me the wrong way. But, the more I read, and the further I got, I began to understand the impetus of each one. Now, that doesn’t make me like them any more than I did before. But that understanding kicked into gear and allowed me to read from a different point of view.
I judged these characters from a position of ignorance, in a sense. Not because I thought Nina deserved to get raped or anything like that. These people annoyed me. They acted in ways that didn’t seem right somehow. It takes a lot of deep soul-searching to understand the human mind after trauma. It took some of this searching within myself to understand that Nina reacted from a place of pain. Just because Nina doesn’t react the way I expect her to, it isn’t wrong.
The setting wasn’t anything to write home about. It’s a typical British city with houses, streets, and workplaces. However, the elements all rang through. The rain on my skin and in my eyes was cold. I felt the sunshine on my face and sat in the cafe with Nina when she learned the truth. I was in that dark room with Nina. Sarah Tinsley made this world real. Sometimes, it was a great thing, but other times I struggled with the intensity of the scenes.
I found the premise of this book deplorable. In the beginning, my anger at the audacity of this author to write this novel made me shake. But, when I finished and had my scathing review all written in my mind, I read the acknowledgments. It was in these few pages that I learned the author’s intent. My entire perception changed in an instant. A light bulb went off in my head, and I almost screamed from the complete understanding I found at that moment. At that moment, I cried. I cried so hard that I couldn’t breathe. Everything made so much sense. Nina’s reality became my own.
I award The Shadows We Cast a full 5 out of 5 stars. The poignant writing makes you feel. It makes you think. If I may make one request, please read this book. If it makes you angry, that’s a good thing. It should. Read with an open mind and an open heart.
About the Author – Sarah Tinsley
Sarah is a UK writer living in France. She explores gender issues in her writing and helps others explore their creative selves through workshops and courses. Her first novel, The Shadows We Cast won the Spread the Word/Bookouture competition in 2020 and is published by SRL Publishing in January 2022. Her short fiction has been published widely, including in Mslexia and Litro, and she came third in the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2021. She also coordinates Write By You, a writing project for underrepresented young female writers in the UK.