Review: The Colour of Shadows by Phyllida Shrimpton

The Colour of Shadows by Phyllida Shrimpton
Published By: Hot Key Books
Released: 7th February 2019
Page Count: 368 Pages
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5 

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

A moving portrayal of a teenager coming to terms with a secret about her mother that her father decided to keep from her... was he right to do so? Saffron must work that out...

Seventeen year old Saffron discovers a secret in the attic - a secret that changes both her past and her future...

Having believed ten years ago that her mother had become ill and subsequently died, Saffron learns that her mother is in fact alive and well. Angry at the years of deceit from her father and step mother, she goes in search of the truth about her mother - and leaves home. 

Homeless and alone, Saffron has to deal with the mental turmoil and anger at her father as she processes the lies she has been told. And then Saffron comes face to face with the dangers of being a homeless teenage girl...


Whilst researching for an a-level project seventeen-year-old Saffron discovers a secret, one that changes both her past and her future. Ten years ago, she was told that her mother had died, however Saffron learns that her mother is alive and that her father has been lying to her. Angry at her father Saffron goes off in search for the truth about what happened to her mother. However, things don’t go the way she plans and soon Saffron is homeless and alone.

The Colour of Shadows was an emotional, heart wrenching read that had me welling up on more than one occasion. The way that the issue of homelessness was tackled was outstanding and you really got to experience the gritty side to it. Nothing was glamorised and you could tell that a lot of research and work was put in to make it just right. As well as homelessness the book also took on topics such as alcoholism, drug abuse and grooming. Again, these were tackled in an appropriate way and I don’t know about anyone else, but as soon as I finished the book I had a new perspective on all of the issues mentioned.

The plot itself was very easy to follow and took place over the course of a week which I felt was the right amount of time to get Saffron’s story out.  The story itself is told as a split narrative by Saffron, herself and from Saffron’s nineteen-year-old friend Tom. I love reading different perspectives within novels and this was no exception. Reading two different points of view about the same situation is always eye opening. I must admit though that I did like Tom’s parts just a little bit more than Saffron’s. That’s not to say that her parts weren’t great.

The only negative thing that I found with The Colour of Shadows was that Saffron was a hard character to like. I found her to be very self-centred, self-absorbed and highly materialistic. If she’d only taken the time out to listen to her father and see his point of view instead of overreacting at the first sign of trouble then the story could’ve taken a different turn. However, come the end of the story I found myself warming up to her as she did start to realise her mistakes and I felt that the ending for her was justified.

The Colour of Shadows is a hard hitting, powerful, wonderfully written book. The powerful themes within it make it stand out and will have you seeing those said issues in a completely different light. Trust me.

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