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After the Shadows

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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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The story opens in 1882 in the Texas Hill Country.  Emily Leland, a widow and a survivor of an abusive marriage, has returned to her family's home.  Her mother has recently died, her sister is hostile towards her and on the day she returns she discovers her father's body and his death is ruled a suicide.  She does not agree.  The only way to keep her home is to turn it into a boarding house.  Infuriated, her sister leaves.  Can anything else go wrong?                                                                           
Her first boarder is the new schoolteacher Craig Ferguson, a widower with a young son.  The loss of his wife was traumatic, especially for his son.  It is his hope that a new life in a new community will help them both. Neither Emily nor Craig are looking for new partners.  Even so, situations keep arising and their relationship from landlord and boarder changes. Woven into the story are members of the community and they bring much to the narrative. This skillfully told story deals with themes that include bullying, violence and prejudices towards those perceived as different.  Even so, this is a story about survival, second chances and unexpected romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Set in 1882 in Texas, this book has some surprisingly updated aspects! I especially liked how the new teacher was not in favor of humiliating students, nor using spankings/hitting for punishment. I really liked how he was willing to teach a special needs child and his method to do so! In the book, Emily is one of three sisters, and she returns home after her abusive husband dies in a barroom fight, leaving her penniless. The sisters have their own viewpoints and question that Emily faithfully wrote their family and did not know about family deaths. Could her minister father have hung himself in such deep misery, when he could not tie the knot that killed him? Evidently Emily is the only one that does not believe it, but there is no proof. Further deaths in the community keep her on alert. Financial matters lead her to open her home to paying guests, including the new teacher. Now I look forward to any new books about the other sisters!
I appreciate being able to read this e-book from the publisher! My thoughts expressed above are my own.
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After the Shadows is an appropriate title for this storyline, but as we start out, our characters have some shadows they still need to walk through.

Emily Leland is a new widow, but she does not mourn her husband. After her short courtship and quick wedding, she finds out soon enough that George is not a nice man. She still bears the marks of his last beating before he died suddenly. Emily goes back home to Sweetwater Crossing, to a home that is not the same. Her mother has died, one sister is traveling, and Louise her youngest sister is angry. What none of the sisters can imagine is what happens next. Their world continues to become shattered.

Craig Ferguson and his little boy, Noah, want a fresh start after the tragic accident killing his beloved wife. So, he decides to move to Sweetwater Crossing and start over as the town's schoolteacher. However, on his very first day Craig is wondering if he will ever escape tragedy as in this town, something is seriously wrong.

Craig and Emily, two strangers, begin to know each other under unusual circumstances along with the pain of loss in their lives. But there is something going on the town that really needs to be stopped.

I enjoyed the sweet romance between Craig and Emily that happened despite their circumstances. The mystery was well done and kept me turning the pages.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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“After The Shadows” caught my attention right from the beginning. This combination Historical Fiction/Murder mystery/Romance moves along at a quick pace which keeps you turning page after page. I enjoyed the slow-burn romance which remains appropriate and consistent with the Christian life and the 1880’s. I also appreciated how the main character’s Christian faith is an essential part of their plot lines. There were moments of seriousness, grief, and sadness as well as movements of lightness and comedy. For those who struggle to read books which are too heavy, it does deal with suicide and abuse in marriage. However, the subjects are treated with respect while being contextualized in a manner consistent with the 1880’s. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to reading book 2 of this series.
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I have read many of Amanda Cabot’s novels and each one was a treat.  After the Shadows does not disappoint.  

Emily Leland, the daughter of a minister, returns to her family home in Sweetwater Crossing, Texas, after the death of her husband.  That was no great loss to her as he was an abusive man who made her life miserable.  She returns to find that her mother is dead and her younger sister is running the house.  Her father is despondent at the death of his wife and when he didn’t come home one afternoon, Emily found him hanging in the barn.  Both the mayor and the doctor ruled it a suicide without an autopsy being performed.  

To make a living, Emily makes their home into a boarding house.  Strange things keep happening in Sweetwater Creek…fires, the deaths of elderly women and men who had not been ill.  The new school teacher and Emily suspect that someone is murdering them.  The strength of the characters and their faith makes this a very delightful read, even though the subject matter is distressing.

This book is a worthwhile read…heartbreaking in one sense and pleasing in another.  I think you will find Ms. Cabot has written a very good novel.
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This first book in a new series was a great introduction to the setting of Sweetwater Crossing, all the small-town folks and giving a background for the three sisters.

I enjoyed watching the growth of Emily and learning to trust again. Emily was also a perfect example of someone not seeing their true worth like the people around them which they are impacting. I also loved Craig and his struggle to break the mold of what school and discipline should be to what I can be.

Noah and Beulah were great kiddies which brought fun and lightness to the story.

I did guess who might be behind everything going on at Sweetwater Crossing and was waiting patiently for Emily to connect the dots.

I do plan to continue this series.

This was a sweet story of new beginnings and second chances after great loss.
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Title: After the Shadows

Author: Amanda Cabot

Ch: 32

Pg: 342

Series: Secret of Sweetwater Crossing

Genre: Christian Historical fiction with a little Bit of romance and mystery

Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Revell

I’m not going to lie After the Shadows is my first Amanda Cabot novel, but it won’t be my last. I enjoyed that it while it was a historical fiction it also had a bit of romance and mystery to it.

It was the mystery part of the book that kept me turning pages to find out what happened. I loved that Craig, the new schoolteacher and new to town believed Emily when no one else did. It took me a bit to warm up to Emily but when I did, I loved her. Though I had to say my two favorites were Noah because he was such a toddler. And Beulah and not just because that’s my grandmas name but because she was a sweetheart, and I loved her child like faith.

Though my favorite part was the gift that Beulah’s grandma gave her on page 137 that was technically from Emily’s mother. It was bittersweet because it hit close to home.

With this one I laughed and I cried. And of course, solved a mystery. Can’t wait for book two in the series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher as part of a blog tour  I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it! The love story part is it was so sweet and I appreciated that it touched on hard topics like dealing with grief and overcoming past mistakes. I always love a book with a little bit of mystery and this one didn't disappoint. I can't wait for the rest of the books in this series!
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I always enjoy Cabot's books and After the Shadows was another great read.  She's got a full gamut of characters.  Mostly good, some not so.  There's a mystery woven into the romance.  It just had so much to entertain.

Poor Emily.  Young and naive as you'd expect at that time, she marries the guy all the girls were swooning over.  Her parents had a great marriage.  She never saw the unhappiness and misery coming.  When her husband dies in a bar fight, it's a relief.  Going home is a mix of excitement, she's missed her family, and shame, her marriage wasn't great, and necessity, she's broke.  Things at home though are far from the warm, welcoming family she was so looking forward to rejoining.  The story definitely has some serious sad points.  But it's all part of what makes the story so gripping.

Craig has had a hard time too.  His sweet son suffers nightmares following the untimely death of his mother.  Craig hopes a move to a new town will help get Noah and him past their grief.  He arrives in town to find the home he was going to live in still smoldering after a devastating fire.  The answer?  Move to Emily's large, nearly empty home.

Soon Emily has an impromptu boarding home with her neighbor, Craig and Noah.  She's also feeding others and reestablishing friendships.  

I won't recap the rest of the story because you need to read this book yourself!  The story has tons of intrigue, great characters, and more feelings than you'd expect.  I hadn't read a Cabot book in several years but I am so glad to have gotten this book to review and to jump back to her wonderful western tales.
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This book had everything that I enjoy reading about in a historical fiction novel. A great story line, great characters, mystery and romance. The mystery is subtill and not revealed until the end. Of course all of us sleuths are guessing Who. You will fall in love with the characters, well most of them. I loved Emily and her forgiving spirit and the way she was willing to put everyone first instead of herself. Of course your heart is drawn toward little motherless Noah and his dad. Cabot did not disappoint the readers in her latest novel and will have you anxiously awaiting her next book…. Thanks to the publisher who gave me a digital copy and this is my review in my own words.
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Widow Emily Leland returns home to Sweetwater Crossing after her abusive husband is killed to find her parents both dead with no means of support for her and her sisters. I admired Emily for opening their large home to boarders even though it infuriated her sister so much that she left home! Emily is determined to prove that her father did not commit suicide even though he was found with a noose around his neck. Several older people in the village suddenly die with no apparent illness. I admired the new schoolmaster, Craig Ferguson, for inviting Beulah, a slow learning girl to attend school even though the previous schoolmistress would not allow her to attend. If you enjoy mysteries, you will enjoy After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot. I received an advance e-book though NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
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After the Shadows, by Amanda Cabot, opens in a seemingly all-American town.  However, Emily Leland has just returned to her family home, only to find her sister Louisa is extremely bitter that Emily had not been able to help with their mother’s final days.  Little does anyone know that Emily’s husband had intentionally kept her in the dark about her family.  Her husband had abused her both emotionally and physically.  The fact that he is no longer living has given Emily a new freedom, but Emily has more healing to do.  When Louisa and Emily head out to the barn looking for their father, they are surprised to find his body hanging at the end of a rope!

Craig Ferguson is the new schoolmaster who is relocating to Sweetwater Crossing.  He is a widower with a young son, who is still suffering from nightmares following his mother’s death.  Craig hopes this new location will provide much needed healing.  When he learns the house where he was to lodge has burned to the ground, Craig knows he must find an alternative location!

When Emily opens her home to those affected by the fire, get ready for all the changes that will come to her life.  You wonder if Emily will gain more than a new friend.  Will Craig help her discover who or what was behind her father’s death?  You will be surprised when the identity of the killer is finally revealed!
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This book did not end the way I thought it would. The beginning was a bit slower, but the story unfolded well. I always appreciate a slow burn romance with other elements involved besides just the romance and this book was no exception. Multiple storylines had equal parts and helped the characters develop. A very wholesome, yet serious book that I enjoyed reading.
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My thoughts:  AFTER THE SHADOWS Is the first book in a new series by popular author Amanda Cabot.  The book starts as formula historical fiction, with a mandatory death, but it quickly springs from there to unexpected twists and turns, unsolved mysteries, and dual romances. There are incomplete story lines, but since this is the first book in a series, you have plenty to look forward to and anxious for the next book. I fell in love with Craig and the host of female characters. AFTER THE SHADOWS is a must read. I was given a copy free and all opinions are my own.
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I enjoyed this book. It's full of some amazing people full of compassion for those in need.  I loved watching Emily and Craig interact with Beulah and how they encouraged others to see her as created in God's image. I appreciated how Emily opened up her home to meet various needs of friends and even strangers.   I liked seeing Craig in action at the school and how he dealt with bullies.  

There's something strange going on in Sweetwater Crossing.  An inordinate number of people seem to be dying.  Emily is convinced her father's death is not what people assume but she can't seem to figure out what happened.  

The story was well written.  It was interesting and had a good pace to it.  I liked the community of Sweetwater Crossing and will look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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1882 Christian Historical.  Emily returned to her family home after her husband died, then her mother and father. Lies in a letter to her family from her husband had kept them apart, which she just learned of. Very painful story, yet poignant. Loving others, learning to trust God, learning to trust others, coping with death and mystery. Well written, keeps you page turning to get to the answers. Builds a small town with all kinds of personalities, some difficult to live with. 
I received this book free from the author, publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
#NetGalley #AfterTheShadows #AmandaCabot #BooksYouCanFeelGoodAbout #ChristianHistoricalFiction #FiveStarNovel
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After the Shadows is so much more than I expected. It’s a coming home story with lots of twists, elements of mystery, sweet romance, and a search for answers.

I love a starting-over and coming-home story, so I knew I’d enjoy this read, but I was surprised at how many threads bound the story together. I love how the characters drew me in quickly and felt so authentic. I also enjoyed the western, historical setting.

Emily and Craig are unique and interesting characters. And despite her fears, Emily begins to grow as she draws closer to him. Their relationship strengthens as they search for answers and begin to heal.

It was fun to visit the boardinghouse and meet the interesting guests and townsfolk. I love that the mystery isn’t expected and keeps me guessing.

#CoverLoverBookReview received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions are 100% mine.
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