Tuesday, 23 December 2014


4 out of 5 stars

WWII family drama

On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE

If you like family sagas and wartime drama I'd recommend this book. Pattern of Shadows paints a marvellously realistic picture of a working class family of the time, and makes the reader aware how much attitudes and expectations have moved on in the subsequent seventy years. Homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, violence, rigid prejudices, it's all there! It's obviously very, very well researched, which I always appreciate in a novel of this type.

There are many different story lines as the Howarth family meet with one difficulty after another. I didn't warm to the main character, Mary, who seemed rather frosty and humourless, but she was a woman of her time and situation; I imagine under her circumstances I might have been frosty and humourless too! The story really brought home how dreadfully limiting life was for women in such communities in those days.

Some of the characters were very well drawn; I particularly liked the penultimate chapter with 'orrible Arthur in the pub. At around 93% there was a bit that brought a tear to my eye, an indication of the isolation of old people living alone. I wanted to go round and take Mrs Jagger a cake!

I found some of the dialogue slightly wooden at first, with a little too much exposition, though it soon warmed up and the author's writing style seemed to 'kick in' properly around chapter four. I thought the ending (the last couple of chapters) were very satisfactory - the ending of a novel is so important to me. It was nicely wrapped up but still leaving a little doubt, and questions to be answered in the sequel, which I shall be reading at some point because I want to know what happens next. Which is what it's all about, really, isn't it?

CHANGING PATTERNS by Judith Barrow reviewed HERE

LIVING IN THE SHADOWS by Judith Barrow reviewed HERE



  1. Thanks Terry, this was all I hoped that a reader might feel and respond to. It'#'s great to get such an honest review from a well respected author

    1. You're more than welcome, it really made me think! That was what stood out for me most about this book - how much attitudes have changed. I did this review blog so that I could post reviews on the blog hashtag days on Twitter, mostly!! :)