A Shadow’s Breath Review: Rebuilding Life After Domestic Violence

September 2, 2017 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

A Shadow’s Breath Review: Rebuilding Life After Domestic ViolenceA Shadow's Breath by Nicole Hayes
Published by Penguin Random House on January 31st 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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Then, things were looking up for Tessa. Her mum was finally getting her life back on track. Tessa had started seeing Nick. She was making new friends. She'd even begun to paint again.

Now, Tessa and Nick are trapped in the car after a corner taken too fast. Injured, stranded in the wilderness, at the mercy of the elements, the question becomes one of survival.

But Tessa isn't sure she wants to be found. Not after what she saw. Not after what she remembered.

Alternating two points in time, the past and the present, Tessa deals with the emotional effects following domestic violence in her family. A Shadow’s Breath explores what happens after the fact – her mum is now recovering from alcoholism after getting rid of her abusive partner.

A Shadow’s Breath covers the complex family issues surrounding domestic violence. During the more traumatic years of her life, Tessa stopped trusting and started blaming her mother for letting “The Arsehole” into her life, and she also stopped painting, which was always her passion. Tessa’s mother wants to rebuild the relationship with her daughter again, but Tessa isn’t able to let her guard down after all they’ve been through. With its impactful words, the novel captures her claustrophic feelings of anger, loneliness and despair, with the only reprieve being Tessa’s new friends in her life.

Tessa’s best friend Yuki, inspires her to let loose and have fun, providing the emotional support that she needs in life. Nick inspires her to pursue her artwork further and to recognise her good qualities. You could definitely see how Nick’s dreams for the future instilled Tessa with the hope to move forward in life.

The past point of view is overlayed with the present, where Tessa and her boyfriend Nick, are trying to find help through the Australian wilderness after a car crash. Through both points of views, Tessa and her family’s secrets are slowly revealed, with both perspectives working in tandem. While seemingly covering separate storylines, both past and present capture the same emotional impact, linking together towards the end.

Tessa felt a rush of joy, and embraced it with the same trepidation new things always seemed to bring, but also, a determination to hold on and keep it safe.

A Shadow’s Breath is a multi-layered and complex story, tackling the effects of domestic violence on a family with heartstopping secrets. It’s an emotional adventure that I really enjoyed, as we find out what happened to Tessa in the past and how she gets stuck in the wilderness in the present.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a review copy! 

A Shadow’s Breath is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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