Cheri Reviews Etched in Shadows by KG MacGregor

I’ve been reading some pretty dark and dense books lately so when Etched in Shadows was selected as the Book of the Month for a group I belong to, I was very ready for something lighter. After reading it, though, this one isn’t very light, either. I mean, it’s not zombies or murder or human trafficking but it’s certainly not a romantic comedy.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

For 39-year-old Johnelle Morrissey, the American Dream is a successful career in medical technology, a stately home in historic Charleston, South Carolina, and happy times with the people she loves most—her husband Dwight, their teenage son Ian and her oldest friend Alice Choate. That dream shatters on an airport runway when her plane goes down, leaving her with only clouded memories of her former life.

Devastated by the tragedy, Alice teams with the family to help Johnelle recover. For hours on end Alice shares memories of the moments that formed their friendship over the years, but she holds back one secret—that she’s been in love with Johnelle for as long as she can remember.

Johnelle struggles to reassemble her past—college life, her wedding day and the joys of raising her son. Once her physical injuries heal, her family expects life to go back to the way it was. But the love she must have once felt for Dwight remains deeply shadowed, eclipsed by yearning for a new life…with Alice.

Seems like the whole book is pretty much put out there in the blurb, right? Well, there’s quite a bit left for us to discover. Actually, Johnelle’s memory cleared up pretty quickly but she couldn’t seem to find the same feelings she had for her husband. She had some other issues related to the crash but her emotional connection to Dwight was completely gone.

I’ve been a fan of the author’s work for years. She’s one of my main “go-to” folks when I need a book that I can just lose myself in and know that I’ll feel good when I read the final sentence. Of course, I’ve enjoyed some of her books more than others but who can say they’ve absolutely loved every single book a prolific writer has published? With that said, Etched in Shadows will certainly be housed in my “read again” collection on the Kindle.

Not only did I love Alice, the best friend for nearly 30 years who stood by and supported Johnelle and been a part of her family, but I loved Johnelle, too. I couldn’t help feeling bad for Dwight, he didn’t do anything wrong but still had his entire life ripped apart. Well, I liked him much less as the book progressed but, honestly, his responses felt genuine and I tried to imagine myself in his place. It’s not a happy place to be. There were a few times when I wanted some of the women to express their emotions more openly but the author did a great job of ensuring the reader understood that they had been raised proper Southern women and some things were just not done.

Johnelle’s transformation from a woman who did her best to be the wife and mother she was raised to be to someone who refused to just go along to get along was wonderful to watch. While she lost the ability to do and feel some things, what she gained, to me, seemed so much more important. I liked that the author didn’t make Johnelle’s pre-crash life something that she suffered through while dreaming of something completely different. Were there things that she wanted to change or wish were different? Certainly, but whose life is exactly the way they want it?

The thing I’ve always loved about KG MacGregor’s work is that her stories and characters feel real. For the most part, they are women we could be, living lives that could have been ours. It’s easy to become immersed in the story because the women feel like they could be our friends – or maybe in some cases, us. Etched in Shadows is no different and I highly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed MacGregor’s work.

Thank you, KG, for sharing this great story with us and I eagerly await the next one.

You can download a sample or purchase Etched in Shadows by clicking here.

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