Snow Shadow

~ A Novel by Andre Norton


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Snow Shadow

 

 

Synopsis ~

Write-up from an old Amazon.com posting ~

Being able to step back into the past seemed a wonderful stroke of luck for Erica Jansen. Northanger Abby was like another world. And her introduction to the family there had come from a charming man, Preston Donner. She felt very fortunate indeed.
But from the moment she became a guest at the Abby, she felt like a prisoner. First there were the arguments she couldn’t avoid… then the murders she could not ignore. And then the man who stepped out of her own buried past to entwine her in a terror from which she saw no escape…
 Erica Jansen, the heroine, was raised by an elderly aunt who taught her to distrust her own feelings. Erica's one attempt at freedom resulted in a humiliating incident that sent her running back to Vermont. Now, five years later, her aunt dead, Erica, a fledgling author, is again in the town where the relationship that ended in her humiliation began. She runs into a fellow author and by dint of an invitation is drawn into the tangled affairs of the Austen family and their hangers on.

 

Write-up from the back of the Fawcett paperback edition ~

Being able to step back into the past seemed a wonderful stroke of luck for Erica Jansen. Northanger Abby was like another world. And her introduction to the family there had come from a charming man, Preston Donner. She felt very fortunate indeed.
But from the moment she became a guest at the Abby, she felt like a prisoner. First there were the arguments she couldn’t avoid… then the murders she could not ignore. And then the man who stepped out of her own buried past to entwine her in a terror from which she saw no escape…

 

Write-ups from fans ~

Erica Jansen returns to Ladensville, the town where she had suffered the humiliation of seeing the man she loved in  conversation with his wife--unaware that the "wife" was an "ex-".  Now, however, Erica is a successful writer, if in a limited field, and needs to do some research at the Ladensville university library about another of the "scribbling women" of the mid-1800's.  She had encountered Theodosia Cantrell, another writer, at a coffee shop and was invited to the Cantrell home for a cocktail party, which results in her introduction to Miss Elizabeth Austin, owner of an old Victorian house called "Northanger Abbey" by it's builder, Dr. Edward Austin, who believed he was related to Jane Austen, and had squandered his wife's fortune on accumulating as complete a collection of Austeniana as possible.  His will left the remainder of the fortune to enlarging the collection, with his middle daughter as the trustee, and the eldest daughter rights to the house during her lifetime--but no money for its upkeep.  So she is reduced to taking in boarders.  Erica dislikes living in motels, so accepts a room in Northanger Abbey, which plunges her into intrigue; murder and money-laundering activities, which also brings her back into contact with her former lover, who is a CIA agent investigating the "black sheep" of the Austin family. ~ SL

 

This Gothic has the feel of a cross between “Murders for Sale” / “Sneeze on Sunday” and the old soap opera Dark Shadows, young women in creepy situations. Erica Jansen, a writer doing research for her next book is tired of hotels. On the advice of a friend of a friend, she decides to rent a room at Northanger Abbey, home to the eccentric Austin family who claim to be related to the author Jane Austen. Walking through a spooky dark garden that night on the way to the Abbey, she thinks she sees a man dressed in an old-timey sailor's uniform, but decides that it was just her imagination and tells no one. Not long after moving in, Emma, an elderly member of the family dies suddenly and her funeral is to be held at the Abbey. After a furious argument over whether the casket should be open or closed, the coffin is opened to reveal that the old lady's body is missing and has been replaced by the corpse of Roderick, the ne'er-do-well black sheep of the family who was thought to have fled to Europe and died. But, now, his freshly shot corpse has come home, to the family's chagrin. Also, where is Aunt Emma's body? As accusations fly and family history is discussed, the police arrive along with federal agent Mark Rohmer a mysterious man from Erica's own past. He had been tracking Roderick and now entwines Erica in the twisted investigation. I liked how the Abbey and the sisters Elizabeth and Emma are homage’s to Jane Austen. I had forgotten about this one. It's a good one. ~ PG

 

Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles about Andre

1979 in Booklist, May 01
1979 by C.S. in Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, June

 

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Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1979) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-23963-2, 978-0-449-23963-6, $1.95 US, 255pg ~ cover by Dick Ziven
  • (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-937957-50-6, DM, $3.99, 171pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
  • (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-72-7, DM, $3.99, 171pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge

 

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