Review: Arabelle’s Shadows by Fleur Gaskin

Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur GaskinEverything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears.

Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her.

Based on a true story, Arabelle’s Shadows takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.



I love epistolary style novels. I think the style gives the reader a more in-depth view of the character and creates an intimate atmosphere you don’t usually get in a third person narrative. Arabelle’s Shadows is told in epistolary format with the character logging her experiences of present time cut with flashbacks of her past.

I was taken with Arabelle straight away and I believe it is due to the format of writing. The character speaks to you and, much like a real diary, shares her fears, woes, and jubilations in a way only a real life conversation can. When you’re editing and pay attention to how people speak you begin to notice just how many words people use. We all do it. Some of us ramble on far more and take what feels like an eternity to others to get to the point. Others get straight to the heart of the matter with clipped sentences. Most of us are somewhere in-between, speaking with a healthy dose of ramble and short and sweet sentences.

Arabelle’s Shadows is in-between and at first it’s appealing, having the ability to grab you with the emotion and struggle the story contains, but after a while I found her manner of speaking too drawn out for reading. Epistolary can be a great format to tell a story with but, as with any narrative, it can be hard to focus when the characters tend to speak in a common real life way.

I believe this to be one reason why it took me longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows than it would have taken to read other novels. I needed a break from the style of writing, but when I would pick the story up again I found myself wanting to keep reading. There’s a clash of a need to have a break and a need to keep going. Fortunately the need to keep reading won out.

I’m not unfamiliar with battling depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. Naturally when I first heard about Arabelle’s Shadows I was intrigued and was currently seeking help for my own issues. Between then and now I have made progress and turned my negativity into positive thinking. The cause of my life affects how I view this story. I don’t think I would have been able to read it six months ago. Now I can look back I don’t think it would have been healthy for me to do so, but I haven’t forgotten how it felt to be overtaken by your negative side. I believe this to be the other reason for why I took longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows.

Personally I couldn’t help but feel empathy for Arabelle. I wanted her to succeed, but not in a monetary way, in an emotional and self-respective way. My heart ached for her when she was at her lowest and I felt a sense of joy when she had moments of peace and strength. I’m not sure if this is only because of my past history with mental illness and having toxic people in my life, but I would like to think Arabelle’s Shadows would get under the skin of those who have not struggled so in their lives.

In Case You Missed it: BA’s Posting Challenge is beginning soon, get ready!. The Go Indie challenge is feeling neglected, submit a review and you could win a prize! Catch up with BA’s Book Features.

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