In Darkness, Shadows Breathe by Catherine Cavendish is a very unsettling story set in a hospital with a doorway that only appears to certain women, and a tunnel that leads to the place of nightmares.
Content Warning: Cancer
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on In Darkness, Shadows Breathe by Catherine Cavendish
In part one, In Darkness, our main character is a woman named Carol who leads a quiet and lonely life. Only a couple days after moving in to her temporary rental, odd things being to occur. Soon, we realize that Carole is flashing between the current time and the nineteenth century. Things only got more and more bizarre from there! When Carol finally confided in a neighbor, that’s when we finally started to get some answers, but was it already too late?
In part two, Shadows Breathe, our main character is a woman named Vanessa, or Nessa, who has learned that her cancer has spread and that she needs major surgery. As she is recovering from the surgery, she begins to have what she thinks are hallucinations due to her pain medicine. Over time, it becomes clear that she’s not just dreaming these things up. Someone is after her, but can she get away?
My goodness were these two halves of the book perfectly organized! I loved that they were both a bit similar when it came to a few elements and that there was some overlap, but for the most part, they each took their own path!
Both of the women we center around in these stories were absolutely incredible. I really felt for them immediately after meeting them. They are definitely the type of characters that I felt protective of and kept wishing everything would work out and that they would be okay.
The two main settings within the hospital were such polar opposites that it made the flashes between the two even more unsettling. One seemed to be bright, clean, and friendly, while the other was dark, filthy, and brutal. Each time the characters found themselves in the darker place, I was equally anxious and intrigued to see what was going to happen. Then when they were back in the light, I just wanted them to get answers from the nurses that seem to know more than they were letting on!
Catherine Cavendish’s writing style is just so lovely. I really enjoyed that each part of this novel were slow burning in the beginning, but once the spark caught in each, the flames quickly took over and that made it very difficult to put the book down.
My Favorite Passages from In Darkness, Shadows Breathe
In the daylight, her nocturnal experiences paled and became unimportant, a product of a befuddled brain. That’s all it was.
The dream had been so real. She shuddered at the memory and recalled the acrid stench of ammonia. Surely you weren’t supposed to be able to smell anything in a dream?
Despite the horror around me, I felt strangely calm. Then I heard a scratching sound. Someone turning the key in the lock. The door creaked as it was pushed open.
It is strange how tenuous your hold on reality can become when you’re desperate.
My Final Thoughts on In Darkness, Shadows Breathe
This novel was so unsettling. I’m not a fan of hospitals to begin with, so I was already on edge while reading. But let me tell you, if I’m in a hospital anytime soon and I hear the words “you’re next,” I’ll likely pee my pants.
If you enjoy gothic horror with a supernatural element and strong female characters, this is a must read for you!
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Thanks for reading!