Monday, November 28, 2022

Review | These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall

Source: preordered purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

These Fleeting Shadows is a young adult horror novel by Kate Alice Marshall.

Helen Vaughan doesn't know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven't spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she's shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she'll be left with nothing.

There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen's dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night? And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?

With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.

I read These Fleeting Shadows this past week with the Horror Spotlight discord group.

I am such a fan of Kate Alice Marshall. Marshall's books are always so imaginatively dark. These Fleeting Shadows was weird and romantic and heartbreaking, and I loved it.

Helen's grandfather passed away, and he left her Harrowstone Hall and his fortune. There was a catch to the inheritance and the rest of Helen's family was left out of the will. There are a lot of family secrets in the Vaughan family, and Harrowstone Hall is a strange place. You can tell things definitely aren't as they seem. Dreams and reality intertwine in the halls of Harrow and in the minds of the people who stay there.

These Fleeting Shadows has been described as Knives Out meets The Haunting of Hill House which sounds lighter and more humorous than the tone we actually get in These Fleeting Shadows. These Fleeting Shadows is dark and cosmic and maddening. It's H.P. Lovecraft meets Arthur Machen meets Kate Alice Marshall. It brought back the same unsettled feelings I felt in Our Last Echoes. It's also Sapphic and beautiful.

I loved the characters in These Fleeting Shadows. I couldn't help but feel for our main character Helen. She and her mother fled Harrow when she was young, but Helen didn't know why. She grew up only having her mother and Simon (her mother's boyfriend). With the help of the Harrow Witch and her cousins, she slowly unravels all of the Vaughan family secrets during the time she is forced to spend in Harrow.

If you've never read Kate Alice Marshall, you can absolutely start here. It's a great introduction to what her books are like, and I think These Fleeting Shadows has a stronger ending than her other books. If you are already a fan of Kate Alice Marshall, this is a must read.

4.5/5 stars


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  1. Wow this sounds fabulous. Had no idea. I've seen it around here and there but reading your review- souns like it has some almost cosmic horror elements, and the idea of dreams and reality not being entirely separate. I need to read this!!!

    1. Yes - you are exactly right! I hope you are able to read it!

  2. I love reading family secrets come to light.

  3. This was such a good book! I'm so glad we read it on Horror Spotlight.

    1. Me, too! I'm glad we wound up doing the buddy read thing! What a good month.

  4. I'm so glad to hear this one's so good. It's one I want to read. :D

  5. Wow, I definitely need to read this! Awesome review๐Ÿ˜

    1. I hope you manage to read it at some point! Maybe if you love her new book you can pick this one up, too. :)


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