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.
Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.
War changes men, and Sam is permanently changed by the horrors he experienced during his time at war in the Pacific. Even though he has dreams for his family’s future, he knows he’s damaged goods especially when compared to his former best friend who’s the community doctor. He needs to be able to support his wife and give her the life he believes she deserves. But Hot Springs, Arkansas – the setting of this book – is a hot mess of corruption, and Sam risks alienating powerful people when he speaks up about what he thinks he’s seen.
I had difficulty knowing where the story was headed at first. It was quickly clear that Sam had some PTSD – lightning unnerved him and brought back reminders of his service. Other than that, I only knew that Shadows in the Mind’s Eye had to go somewhere. The narrative comes from the alternating perspectives of husband and wife, so readers get to see what both are thinking about certain situations.
Despite the perceived slow start, however, I ended up loving this story. The characters grew on me, to the extent I’d love to read more about them. The curveballs felt continuous as Sam and Annie attempted to figure out who they could trust. And the biggest trust issue of all? Sam’s ability to trust himself as he wrestles with his PTSD.
Publication Date: 19 April 2022
Janyre Tromp is a historical novelist who loves spinning tales that, at their core, hunt for beauty, even when it isn’t pretty. She’s also a book editor, published children’s book author, and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her family, two crazy cats, and a slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog.