Cover Image: After the Shadows

After the Shadows

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Member Reviews

After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot is set in the 1800’s in Sweetwater Crossing, Texas. Emily comes back home after her abusive husband’s untimely death to find that her mother had died and discovered her father dead in the barn from assumed suicide. She immediately takes charge and turns her home into a boarding house to help out a widowed neighbor whose house caught on fire and the new widower schoolmaster and his toddler. 
Emily isn’t convinced that her pastor father committed suicide so she goes about trying to clear his name with the help of her new boarder, Craig. 
I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more stories in this series.
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This was a compelling and emotional read that I couldn't put down.  Strong characters and determination made this a highly enjoyable read.  A very easy recommendation to purchase for our library.
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This book turned out quite different than I originally thought it would. From the look of the cover I thought it would be more of a British countryside Regency romance type. Nope! It's set in 1882 Sweetwater Crossing, Texas. 

The story is one of tragedy and redemption. Emily Leland is the main character and we meet her as she is arriving at her family home. She's journeyed there to start over after becoming a recent widow. The homecoming she expected is far from the reality that greets her.

One of the main things that I liked about Emily is that she is determined to not only survive but thrive. And she has the wherewithal to pull others along with her. There are seemingly insurmountable odds but she continues to persevere.

There are two other sisters in this story that we get a bit of background on. I am assuming that they will be featured in the next couple of books in this series. I can't wait to find out the rest of Emily's story (surely it will be included in the next books) and also get to know her sisters better.

While this is considered an Historical Romance it also has an element of mystery to it. I enjoyed trying to figure out the who, what, when and why of what happened. It was a very surprising ending. If this first book of the series is any indication of what's to come . . . we're in for a real treat!
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After the Shadows is a nice book when you're in the mood for a slow, fluffy read. While there is definitely a measure of suspense, the overall feel of the book is more pleasant than suspenseful. Most importantly, the ending was very satisfying!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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When Emily Leland's abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, she didn't shed a tear. Learning that he left his ranch and all his worldly goods to a cousin instead of his wife didn't even come as a surprise. She at least expects a sweet welcome home when she returns to Sweetwater Crossing with what little she has that is hers. What she gets instead is an angry younger sister who can't forgive her absence when their mother died. Finding her father, dead by apparent suicide, is the blow that breaks her already shattered heart. She's positive that the man she knew would never have killed himself, no matter how much pain he was enduring at the time, but can she find a way to prove it?

Left destitute by both her husband's mean-spirited actions and her father's death, Emily feels her only recourse is to open her home to boarders. Her first guests are the new schoolmaster, Craig Ferguson, and his young son, Noah. Craig is a widower, moving from the memories of his wife's accidental death and from the matchmakers determined to see that he remarries. As he gets to know Emily, and sees her heart for others, he begins to see that his heart isn't as locked away as he thought it was. 

When friends of Emily's other boarder, Mrs. Cartwright, die from seemingly common ailments, sadness once again reigns in "Finley House." But, is something more sinister happening? As Craig and Emily work together to piece together what is happening in their town, will they give love a chance, when both have been hurt so badly before?

I enjoyed Emily and Craig's story. Both were left broken-hearted by their first marriages, but for far different reasons. I loved how they were friends first, then slipped gently into loving each other. I also enjoyed the mystery that filtered throughout. I was very surprised by the perpetrator, and that's ALL I'm going to say about that. 

Readers who enjoy historical romance with a side of mystery, will definitely enjoy Cabot's After the Shadows. I look forward to Emily's sister, Louisa's story, although, I didn't like her very much in this first book of the series! Hopefully she grows up and makes some changes in Against the Wind!
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This book was difficult to get through. Let me just state that right up front. 

Sometimes crazy extenuating circumstances happen in real life that you look back on and see how it was all part of a bigger plan. However, the events of this book seemed a little too far-fetched to make things work out "just right". I know it's fiction, but I can't suspend belief for so long. I don't know if a single woman would be allowed to host a single man in her home, even with another older woman present. 

The developing 'romance' between Craig and Emily seemed more like Emily just desiring to be a mother. There weren't sparks between them like you would expect. It was more of a mutual respect, which is very important, but not enough to make me believe they would be happy together long-term. 

The replacement family who came in to lead the church and were so horrible was just a distraction. I don't know what purpose they served other than to make the book longer. They didn't add to the plot line and they were super annoying. I must admit I did skim through some of the middle as the book is slow to move along. 

While I ultimately enjoyed the book, I don't know that it was compelling enough to read the continuing series.
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I received an eARC from NetGalley for review.

This was an intriguing storyline set in the 1880s Texas Hill Country about Emily Leland, a widow of an abusive husband, struggling to navigate the devastating news she receives after returning to her hometown following her husbands death. 

This was close to a DNF for me but I’m glad I pushed through and finished it. I struggled at the beginning of the book with the way the author depicted the toddler of the book speaking in a way that would not be typical of a child that age, well loved and cared for, who is the son of a well-educated teacher. It was almost caveman-esque. 

Aside from that, the tone of book surrounding the subject of abuse was confusing. For the time period it was set, it would make sense that there might be some shame surrounding the abuse and therefore a desire to conceal it. However the empowerment development surrounding her being a very strong, no-nonsense character, that stands up for the underdog did not seem to be describing the same person. It was difficult to piece together her character development and reconcile this being the same person.  It also felt like the book ended too abruptly- with some resolution for sure but not finishing out the story line in all of its complexity. 

Overall, I appreciated the mystery and twisty development but it was predictable in some ways (not all). I’ll probably skip the next books.
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Emily Leland went back her hometown Sweetwater Crossing after her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight.  after her arrived home she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances.  Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father's death with the help from the widowed schoolmaster. Together they must work to unmask a killer and escape the shadows of their own pasts in order to forge a brighter future.
As a Christian historical romance mystery book.   (yes the genre has to be this order)  the Christian is the strongest part.   Noah and Beulah were sweet kids. they lighting up the book. The love interest was a little bit weak. and the mystery is too simple.  The story has a strong start, then it went slow till 50%, It wasn't a disappointing read, but it was great eighter.
3 stars
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This book had surprises in it that I did not see coming and other that I totally did.  So many other questions left unanswered.  Like where are the letters going?  Guess I will have to read the next book to find out.
I recieved a free copy so that I might tell you what I honestly think. Hope you enjoyed my review. Now go enjoy the book.
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A slow book about a young  widow  returning home to face some turmoil in her own life as well as her community. Not sure how this pragmatic woman ended up in an abusive marriage. The book has many questionable deaths in a short span . The mystery of the deaths is discovered towards the end but it took a long time to get there.
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An excellent start to Amanda’s new series. I enjoyed the mysteries of this story; it was fun trying to figure out how the threads fit. Craig and Noah were adorable, and I loved how the relationship between Emily and Craig was a very natural progression. The rest of this series promises to be super fun and I am looking forward to the upcoming stories in the Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing series.
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After the Shadows is an excellent book! Everything this author writes is a sold story and really draws me in. I have been reading this authors' books since she has started writing and have enjoyed them all. I wouldn't miss anything she writes.
After The Shadows is the first book in the Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing series.
Emily Leland married too quickly after meeting her husband, not really knowing him and how she would be treated, when he is killed in a bar fight it's no loss to her. Her marriage has produced no children and she now returns home to Sweetwater Crossing only to find her father dead under suspicious circumstances. Determined to get to the bottom of it she is not one to give up as she explores all possibilities of his death.
Everyone thinks he killed himself, but Emily is out to prove otherwise.
Schoolteacher, recently widowed Craig Ferguson moves into town at the same time Emily does with his adorable young son, Noah. I enjoyed seeing the interactions between Emily and Noah, they had quite a bond. When other non sick elderly residents of Sweetwater start dying Emily and Craig are determined to put a stop to it and catch whoever is responsible.
I went right to the very end before solving this suspense. Excellent reading. I love everything this author puts out and recommend this. Looking forward to reading more in this intriguing series.

Pub Date: 21 Mar 2023
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the new schoolteacher and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town.

Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father's death--and to aid Craig Ferguson, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. Together they must work to unmask a killer and escape the shadows of their own pasts in order to forge a brighter future.

My review:  The beginning of the book was a little slow.  After I got into it, I enjoyed it.  Emily has an uphill battle with proving her father didn't commit suicide.  Her sister is fighting her every step of the way. This is not an edge of your seat mystery.  But a good mystery that keeps you guessing.  I am looking forward to reading Emily's story in the next installment.

I was given this book by Revell Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any way.
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Amanda Cabot is becoming a favorite author! This is a wonderful beginning to a new series. Sweetwater crossing is a charming, small town with interesting and lovable characters. This book had an interesting mystery with a sweet romance and I enjoyed getting to know Emily and Craig. I also loved the mention of Cimarron Creek, which is one of my favorite series. Overall a wonderful book!

* I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
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After the Shadows is a wonderful blend of friendship, love, and mystery. This book is set in 1882 in the small town of Sweetwater Crossing.  Emily Leland has returned home, from an abusive marriage after the death of her husband, only to discover her father’s death. She is convinced that her father was murdered and will do everything she can to prove it. The same day she arrives home, a new school teacher, Craig Ferguson who is recently widowed, moves into town with his young son and needs a place to stay due to his original lodging burning down. Emily invites Craig and his son, as well as others, to stay in her family’s home. Then numerous older people in town start dying when they seemingly didn’t have life threatening ailments. Emily and Craig are determined to figure out who is behind the deaths. 

This book is a great start to a new series. It is full of real characters, mysterious deaths, sweet romance, and second chances. I would definitely recommend this book. 

I was provided a copy of the book from the author/publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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Amanda Cabot's stories are so sweet, comforting and easy to read and After the Shadows was no exception.  I loved her characters and seeing their character and faith grow through difficult trials. The romance between Emily and Craig was endearing and Noah and Beulah were adorable. The pace was a bit slow at first but once it picked up and really started rolling the story became so enjoyable. All round another great story from Amanda Cabot! Can't wait for the sequel!
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I'm a day late to this review, but here it is nonetheless. This book is the absolute sweetest, heartwrenching, page turning book I've read in quite some time. The way Amanda brought these characters and their lives to life. With real life problems rhat make it easy to relate to them but also in a way that makes you keep reading from page one. The slow burn romance was and is always so, so amazing and just made me swoon. 😍😭 I loved the characters personal development within themselves but also with other people. The faith content is this book is so real and true. The way the author captured God and incorporated it into her characters is surreal. This is just such a sweet and amazing book!!
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.
#revelbooks #christianbookstagrammer #bookreview #revelpublishing #aftertheshadows #amandacabot #bookshelfphotos #review #booksofinstagram #christianauthors #christionfiction
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After the Shadows
by Amanda Cabot
Pub Date 21 Mar 2023 
Christian  |  Historical Fiction  |  Romance 

Revell and Netgalley have provided me with a copy of After the Shadows for review:

A brighter future may just be in store for her if she can escape the shadows of her past.

In the wake of the death of her abusive husband in a bar fight, Emily Leland sheds no tears, but what she finds in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she hoped for. The first thing she discovers is that her father has died under mysterious circumstances. In the meantime, the house in which the new teacher and his son are supposed to reside burns down, leaving them homeless. In response to Emily's proposal to turn the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister leaves town in rage.

Emily is alone and broke. Her family name has been tainted by controversy, but she is determined to solve the mystery of her father's death - and to assist Craig Ferguson despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, a creative teacher, and an unexpected ally. Their mutual goal is to uncover the identity of a killer and escape the shadows of their own pasts in order to build a brighter future for themselves.

I give After the Shadows five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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After the Shadows
Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing  #1
By Amanda Cabot

A year ago, Emily Leland left Sweetwater Crossing as a newlywed bride. Today she is returning as a widow, one with a secret. But the home she left is filled with sorrow following the death of her mother. And then there is her sister's anger - anger and resentment at the situation. 

Emily's homecoming is anything but happy when her father is found dead. Emily alone feels that someone took her father's life, but anyone with any authority thinks it is just her grief speaking. But in the midst of her grief, Emily continues to honor her father's memory by opening her family's home to those in need of housing, including the newly arrived school teacher.    

This is an excellent book that touches on several serious topics, including suicide and abuse. These are approached both delicately and thoughtfully, presented as they were handled at the time this book is set. There are concerns that Emily raises that, for the most part, are ignored by all except the new school teacher Craig Ferguson. I think Craig is more open to Emily's assertions because he has recently lost his own wife in tragic circumstances, and his less humiliating disciplinary measures have marked him as possibly unsuitable too. But whatever the reasons Craig has for believing Emily, they work to solve the mystery that Emily feels needs to be answered. 

What they uncover is rather shocking, and would be interesting to discover why it happened. What was the triggering event that made this course of action seem acceptable? This is the question that so many times we all ask after an event, "Why did they do this?" This is the first book in the Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing series, and if this book is any indication, it should prove to be an excellent series. Amanda Cabot presented a well-spun story with characters who had depth as they dealt with difficult situations, a testament to her skills.                                                                                                                                                                         

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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After the Shadows
Amanda Cabot

Emily Leland returns home to Sweetwater Crossing after the death of her abusive husband. The home she finds is far different than she expected. Her father has died under mysterious circumstances and one of her sisters is studying in Europe.  In order to keep their home, Emily proposes turning it into a boardinghouse. With the help of the new school teacher, Craig Ferguson, Emily sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her father's death. Together they must work to identify the killer and overcome the shadows of their own pasts.

Set in the late 1800s, this book is historical romance but does not include a great deal of historical detail. The style of writing would appeal to a wide variety of readers, particularly those who prefer a more simplistic, predictable read.  We tend to enjoy books that have greater character development and more complicated story lines. 

We received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This is our honest review.
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