The Shadows Of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny

Publication Date: 30 September 2021

The Blurb

Shadows are gathering over Rookhaven.

It is the time of The Great Configuration, a once in a hundred years event. Family and monsters descend on Rookhaven from all over the country to take part. But amid the guests there is an interloper. One who is disguised and has an eye on their destruction.

Meanwhile Mirabelle – part human, part monster – discovers that to those from outside Rookhaven she is not considered family at all . . . and, forced to search further afield for knowledge of her true history, she risks everything – and everyone.

Illustrated by Edward Bettison

The Review

The wait to return to Rookhaven has seemed a long one, but it was definitely worth it – an emotionally charged adventure that pulls you along by the heartstrings!

We are plunged straight back into a gothic world of darkness, deceit and desperate measures to save family. Pádraig’s descriptions of a war ravaged London send chills down the spine as we are swept straight into a deadly, despicable situation that sets the tone for the shadows to swirl in.

Mirabelle is joined at Rookhaven by young Billy Catchpole who is more like her than she first perceives. Her straightforward kindness and acceptance is a joy to see in a world where bloodlines create hierarchies she is yet to fully understand.

Piglet’s growing understanding of the world he has been kept away from is heartbreakingly beautiful. We see love, fear, guilt and longing played out through his childlike wonder and old soul. Perfect for building empathy and understanding motivation behind hurtful behaviours and the power of forgiveness for everyone involved.

Edward Bettison’s hauntingly beautiful, striking illustrations add an extra depth of darkness and drama to Pádraig’s story, creating a sublime package worthy of any bookshelf.

I really hope this isn’t our last journey to Rookhaven!

The Guest Post

Working with Edward Bettison by Pádraig Kenny

I’ve never had an illustrator work on one of my books beyond a cover until now, so having Edward Bettison create the cover and illustrations for Monsters was a new experience for me. Ed and I didn’t have much contact, which is absolutely the right way to go because as much as I know what I like in terms of art, I’m really not the best person to make suggestions. In that sense I think it’s really important for all authors to trust artists who take inspiration from their words.

To be honest I like the element of surprise when it comes to seeing what an artist has come up with. I’ve seen fan art based on my characters before, but this was another level. There’s a special delight in getting an insight into someone else’s imagination and how they see your characters. Ed created a gallery for the family of Rookhaven. Each one is a silhouette, but even in this form there’s something I find inspiring about the new representations. I can look at these and find myself thinking about my own characters in a new way, and I love the fact that Ed or anyone else can envisage my characters in a way that can open up new possibilities for me as a writer.

Ed’s work added texture, tone, and a certain mood to everything in Shadows. I was happy with my writing, but his work has made everything feel even more concrete and complete as a work. I can’t imagine Shadows without his art.

There’s so much to admire in what he’s done, but one spread in particular just blew my mind. It’s Billy Catchpole, one of the new characters, on a horse on a country road at night. The texture of the various shades of darkness is stunning, and the moon is the only light in the scene and it just glows. I’m always in awe of artists who can use light in their work.

The Shadows of Rookhaven, publishing in hardback on 30th September 2021

Huge thanks to Padraig for that wonderfully insightful guest post, and to Macmillan for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.