Thursday, May 5, 2022

Shadows in the Mind's Eye by Janyre Tromp (Review and Giveaway!)

Shadows in the Mind's Eye

Janyre Tromp has written an atmospheric, suspenseful novel set in the 1940s in the town of Hot Springs in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.

Book Details:

Title: Shadows in the Mind's Eye by Janyre Tromp
Category: Adult Fiction, 288 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release date: April 19, 2022
Content rating: PG + M (Crime mobs and mature themes of PTSD, war)

Book Description:

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on—responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand—but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds—or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors' list.

To read an excerpt of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye, click here.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Janyre Tromp has written an atmospheric, suspenseful novel set in the 1940s, in the town of Hot Springs in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. From the very first scene of Sam riding on a bus toward home, returning from the war after three years of being away, bone-tired, and battling with horrific memories of his life as a navy soldier, the story quickly caught my attention.

Once home, we become acquainted with his wife Annie and his sweet little girl Rosie who is a little over two years old. His best friend Doc and his brother Peter, along with his mother Dovie May have all worked along with Annie to keep the farm alive and to make ends meet. Sam is broken and does not know where he fits in this new version of his family. With backstory, we get to see that Annie too has a harrowing past, with a father in the Mob, and that all the characters are battling their own weaknesses and trials.

This book had a great premise and a good cast of characters, but I wouldn't have labeled it a psychological thriller nor an eerie Hitchcockian story. It was a story about a family working together to heal and adapt to change, post-war and with a backdrop of mob crime. It touched on mental illness, which I applaud the author for taking on since this is not an easy topic to write about. I feel that the book description, though, is not quite accurate. In my opinion, Annie seemed more broken than Sam, and I couldn't understand why after experiencing post-war reactions from Peter and her father-in-law, she still seemed naive about what to expect from Sam. She kept wanting Sam to be her hero, and her damsel-in-distress, hot and cold reactions were frustrating to read.

Annie kept making references to devils coming for her and initially I thought she may have experienced occult practices, but then it slowly became clear that this was her perception of how she experienced traumatic memories. It was off-putting for me. I think the word devil appeared more than references to God in this book.

I really liked Doc's character and I felt he was under-developed. His weakness was brushed off even as he performs a great act of redemption at the end that is barely acknowledged. My favorite character was Dovie May and her wise sayings. 

Overall, this was a strong debut for Janyre Tromp. It had several good themes threaded throughout the narrative with interesting characters and post-war tension. If you enjoy mystery, suspense, and a Southern setting, this one makes for good reading.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Janyre Tromp (pronounced Jan-ear) is a historical suspense novelist who loves spinning tales that, at their core, hunt for beauty, even when it isn’t pretty. She’s the author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and coauthor of It’s a Wonderful Christmas.

A firm believer in the power of an entertaining story, Tromp is also a book editor and published children’s book author. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, two kids, two crazy cats, and a slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.

You can find her on Facebook (@JanyreTromp), Instagram (@JaynreTromp), Twitter (@JanyreTromp), and her website, where you can download a free copy of her novella, Wide Open.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 17, 2022

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1 comment :

  1. I read this one too! It was not always pretty but it was well done!


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