The Shadows

The Shadows book cover

Volume 1 of The Books of Elsewhere

The story begins with a family of three, eleven-year-old Olive and her parents, moving into an old Victorian mansion. Olive notices something odd about the house, especially the mysterious paintings. She is unable to take the paintings off the wall. She sees things moving in them. When she discovers an old-fashioned pair of glasses and puts them on she realizes she is able to travel inside the paintings to a place called Elsewhere. Here she is able to talk to the people in the paintings. In one of the paintings Olive meets a boy named Morton, who was forced into the painting. The house is also guarded by three talking cats. Horatio, one of the cats, warns Olive not to spend too much time in the paintings or to lose the glasses. But the suspense and mystery doesn’t stop with one painting. Olive visits other paintings and is left with some eerie feelings. She is warned that the family is not welcomed in the house. The relatives of the previous owners, the McMartins, have some sinister plans. In one of the paintings she sees a white shadow among the trees. Olive is determined to piece the clues together in order to find out more about the house. But she is not sure who to trust, the neighbors, the cats, or the people in the paintings.

Readers will not be disappointed with this book. The commentaries of the cats keep the story moving and add some light humor to this spooky, exciting, mysterious adventure. By the end of the book, Olive has discovered some of the mysteries of her new home, but there are more things to solve and she is left with other adventures to follow.

I would recommend this story to both boys and girls in Grades 4-6.

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