Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Purple Shadow by Christopher Bowden. Check out all the info below and my review. Don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments.
A beautifully crafted, atmospheric and absorbing story with a strong sense of place and a compelling cast of characters.
In the years before the war, Sylvie Charlot was a leading light in Paris fashion with many friends among musicians, artists and writers. Now she is largely forgotten. Spending time in Paris during a break in his acting career, Colin Mallory sees a striking portrait of Sylvie. Some think it is a late work by Édouard Vuillard but there is no signature or documentary evidence to support this view.
The picture has some unusual qualities, not least the presence of a shadow of something that cannot be seen. Perhaps the picture was once larger. Colin feels an odd sense of connection with Sylvie, who seems to be looking at him, appealing to him, wanting to tell him something. Despite a warning not to pursue his interest in her portrait, he is determined to find out more about the painting, who painted it, and why it was hidden for many years.
Colin’s search takes him back to the film and theatre worlds of Paris and London in the 1930s – and to a house in present-day Sussex. As he uncovers the secrets of Sylvie’s past, her portrait seems to take on a life of its own.
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The Purple Shadow by Christopher Bowden is a beautifully written story. The pace is steady– not too fast, not too slow. It’s just right to keep the reader invested in where the story is going.
I think my favorite part of this story is just how atmospheric it is. It’s absorbing and compelling because the writing just sucks you in and places you inside the story. There is a real sense of place as Paris comes alive on the pages.
The mystery was unexpected. I had an idea of what was going on but I was wrong, which was fantastic. I really enjoy a twisting, turning mystery that keeps you on your toes. Really well crafted.
Overall, The Purple Shadow was an excellent read. I will definitely keep my eye out for more from this author and would recommend checking this one out.
Thank you to Zooloo’s Book Tours for the free review copy. All opinions are my own and unbiased.
Christopher Bowden lives in south London. He is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme. His books have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay. Of his third novel, The Red House, Sir Derek said, “Very entertaining, cleverly constructed and expertly paced. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
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