Signet, Apr 2003, 6.99, 352 pp.
During a successful showing of her photographs depicting her home country of Canada, Wesley Marshall of Barbados Consulate offers artist Vivien Shaw a job. He wants her to come to his island home to collaborate with a renowned local writer, whose name he refuses to provide at this time, on a book about the island. Vivien says she does not do coffee table books and needs to know who is writing the captions before agreeing. Wesley persuades her to come to Barbados, expenses paid for, to make her final decision.
In Barbados at a party thrown by Wesley and his wife, Vivien meets the writer David Moreton who dismisses her for being too white to write about Barbados. While being driven around by a local hired by Wesley, Vivian sees Peverill House. She forces her reluctant driver to stop and decides to stay there for now. Soon, David escorts Vivien around the island and the two surprisingly hit it off. However, Vivien will learn the hard way why no one wanted her to stay at Peverill House where tragedy impacted her family years ago though she never knew she had some Barbados roots.
HOUSE OF SHADOWS provides the audience a delightful tour of Barbados rarely seen in a novel, a guidebook, or by a tourist. The conflict between the two lead artists is filled with tension from their attraction as much as from their disagreement over the book. The suspense subplot adds well written conflict with a twist, but takes away from the prime theme of the beauty of the island seen through two apparently differing sets of eyes.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner