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Sunday, February 12, 2017

With Love For Romantic Books Cold - In the Shadow of Winter by Lorna Gray - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1947 and people are struggling. Food is still on ration and the winter is devastatingly cold. Eleanor doesn't have much, but what she does have she shares. She's looking after Freddy, who's a little bit different from other boys his age. They live on a farm and Eleanor loves horses. She's a good rider and a great trainer. The peaceful life she and Freddy are living is disrupted because of Matthew. He's injured and on the run from the police and something more sinister. He and Eleanor used to be together and even though he once broke her heart she takes Matthew in.

Eleanor offers Matthew a place to stay, which means he finally has found shelter after being in the bitter cold. It also keeps him away from the authorities. This puts her own safety at risk. Eleanor knows there's something awful going on and things don't add up, so she decides to give Matthew a chance. Getting caught would mean the gallows for him, but has he really done what he's being accused of? Eleanor tries to get to the bottom of the matter, but is that a wise thing to do?

In the Shadow of Winter is a fabulous gripping novel. The mystery is intriguing and I loved Eleanor from the start. She is strong and capable and when life is hard she doesn't run away, but finds a way to deal with it instead. Eleanor is kind and honest, but she's also fiery and determined. She can perfectly manage on her own. She's a powerful woman and I liked that about her character. She's brave and trusts her instincts, which is something that will get her far. She knows welcoming Matthew into her home means trouble, but she does it anyway. She's a fantastic main character and I enjoyed reading about her very much.

Eleanor lives on a farm and I instantly loved her home. It's warm and cozy and it's a welcoming place for both people and animals. I admired Lorna Gray's tone of voice, it perfectly suits Eleanor's character, which made the book even more wonderful to read for me. Eleanor's passion is horses and Lorna Gray writes about them in a beautiful way. I could easily picture them and they have distinct personalities. I'm a big fan of books with animals and In the Shadow of Winter is definitely a good one.

Matthew has to stay out of sight, but he can't go far, because that would mean the end of a normal existence for sure. Eleanor understands him and she gives him space and time, which was endearing to see. The crime Matthew is being accused of is complicated and interesting. The love story is romantic, which balances the cruelness of the criminals. All these elements together make In the Shadow of Winter a complete story. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I loved every single word.


In the Shadow of Winter is a great choice for readers who like gripping books strong heroines and lots of snow.

About Lorna Gray

Lorna Gray lives and works with her partner at their studio in the Cotswolds. Her inspiration is firmly rooted in the British countryside.

Lorna is passionate about understanding the past and takes much of her research from spoken history. She loves the fact that writing gives her the excuse to ask people about their memories, and treasures the unique little insights that every new conversation has to offer. She is also a published illustrator and her work has featured in a number of archaeological reports, children's books and non-fiction titles.

Above all, Lorna loves a good adventure. She doesn't mind whether it comes in the form of a good book, a film or rambling about the ruins of a castle as long as it is guaranteed to have a happy ending.


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Lorna Gray and my debut novel is 1940s romance ‘In the Shadow of Winter’. I live in The Cotswolds in England with my family and my books are generally set here too. I began my career as an illustrator working for a national archaeology company and I’ve always found the past fascinating. Pretty swiftly though I discovered that my true inspiration lay in writing. At the moment I am loving exploring the period just after the Second World War. I can see the traces of that time around me in the landscape and in the memories of older people.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?
To modify a phrase of Mr Darcy’s – a pair of fine eyes in the face of a stubbly man...
Also publishing deadlines (in a looming sort of way).

3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?
My perfect romantic day looks like this: I’ll be sitting on the bed writing and muttering at the cat because he’s sitting on my notes again, and my husband will be downstairs baking a chocolate cake because he knows its the only way to keep me sane.

4. Who are your favorite romantic couple?
Oddly enough my favourite romantic couple at the moment is Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise. I’ve just watched Sense and Sensibility on DVD (which is why their names spring to mind just now!) and perhaps the story has grown a little in my imagination but I think it is wonderfully romantic that Emma T was making this film when she’d just had a deeply traumatic break-up from Kenneth Branagh and she’s playing a part that is all about losing the man she loves and coping with it and here comes this handsome young actor who is funny and cares and restores her faith in life and love again. My heroine in ‘In the Shadow of Winter’ also has to rediscover love and her own path to happiness is fraught with danger.

5. Could you describe what romance means to you?
Romance for me is communication. It is so easy to slip into speaking in sound-bites like an argument in a bad movie, only in real life it isn’t always conveniently raining when you’re feeling sad and if you say something really hurtful, it matters. So romance for me is learning how to talk to him. The fact he listens is where the love comes in.

6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?
I LOVE writing about romance. It is endlessly inspiring and an endless learning curve too.

7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?
The most romantic thing I’ve ever seen is the photograph a friend took when he proposed to his now wife. They were on a family holiday in South Africa. He took his girlfriend off for the day to walk up a beautiful mountain path. He told her that he wanted to take a photograph of the two of them so set up his camera on a convenient rock, set the timer and jogged back down the track to her. He pretended to trip and fall as he reached her. Only he wasn’t falling, he was getting down on one knee and pulling out a ring from his pocket. The photograph is of the moment when she is reaching out in concern in case the fall hurt him and she’s realising he’s actually on one knee and the shining object in his hand is for her and it is an engagement ring. His sheer style is incredible, the timing is perfect and her expression is beautiful. And it’s real too! It doesn’t only happen in fiction.

8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?
I like anything with a good sing-along value. I recently had to do a lot of driving so I rediscovered some old CDs. My current soundtrack of choice is Maroon 5 ‘Songs about Jane’. I’ve been singing She Will Be Loved (badly) for weeks now.

9. Which country personifies romance for you and why?
It has to be Britain. One minute you can be lost in deep wooded valleys, the next you’re in the bustle of a vibrant city. And there’s history everywhere. I love it.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve just sent off a manuscript to my editor at Harper Impulse. It is my second post-war romance and is all about regaining a sense of identity after a bad marriage – tricky enough for anyone but even harder for a woman caught up in a 1940s drama. I also have a third book in the editing stage. This is set to be a busy year!

One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will receive a signed copy of In the Shadow of Winter by Lorna Gray.
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.



  1. Sounds like a good book! I'm excited to read it:)

  2. Sounds like such a good book would love to read a print copy and review on goodreads and amazon! Plus tell a new library about it.

  3. What an intriguing book! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you for the fabulous review Anniek and Suze. It's absolutely wonderful how much you understood and liked Eleanor!

    Good luck to everyone entering the giveaway too. Can't wait to get that book in the post ...

  5. The book review sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover and interview too.

  6. Fantastically written review and sounds like a great book!

  7. I hope to read your book also to improve my English.

  8. I like mysteries and I hate winter, lol I'd like to read this book while laying under a warm blanket this winter! :)

  9. Thanks for the giveaway.


  10. I have to start by saying that I absolutely love the cover. And I'm a huge fan of gripping stories and strong heroins. Will definetly be reading this <3

  11. This sounds like a great book, congrats on the release of it.

  12. I'd love to visit the Cotswolds. Jealous of this author. And keen on WWII historical fiction.

  13. What a debut - congratulations Lorna!