Out of the Shadows

Written by Sarah Singleton
Review by Ann Chamberlin

As Catholics in the time of Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth Dyer and her family are shunned and suffer for their religion while they attempt to keep up the nearby abbey ruined by Henry VIII. Then Elizabeth’s brother returns from Oxford with a priest wanted by the authorities. The family must increase their danger to hide him. Running parallel to these events is the story of Isabella Leland from the 13th century, a time when there was only one sort of Christian, but her mother can also suffer for her skills as a midwife—-and for having a child by a dark crow man from the land of faerie. Isabella took her little brother to faerie for their protection and awakes 300 years later in Elizabeth’s world, where the two girls meet and help one another.

I see that Out of the Shadows is one in a series of books set in this world of dark crow faery people, the earlier Heresy, which I have not read, being another. This will no doubt help to flesh out the other world Singleton has imagined, which otherwise I felt was distinctly lacking. Also, without more context than these pages can provide, the interface between the two worlds did not work for me. Priest hunting and religious persecution in a time we like to think of as civilized is, for me, too real and serious an issue to provide a mere vehicle for imagined worlds, no matter how visceral the author may make them (in tantalizingly, frustratingly brief glimpses).

In all other respects, this is a compelling and interesting read for young adults.