READER REVIEWS FOR DARK SHADOWS
5 stars Dark Shadows..... Ann's third novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 August 2022
"This is Ann's third novel, Dark Shadows. It picks up 25 years on from her first book, Downhill. Dark Shadows can be read as a stand-alone but Downhill is a fabulous piece of work and gives great background to this third outing. It is really captivating to see how life has treated some of the characters from Ann's first book, also to be introduced to characters who were only hinted at. As I have come to expect from Ann's books now, there are twists and turns, enlightenment and sadness, not always when or where expected. The characters are so believable and identifiable, you can't always run away from your history. All i can say is.... buy it, you will not be disappointed."
5 stars - An engaging read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 July 2022
"Dark Shadows is a thrilling read which had the effect of evoking an array of emotions within me. Sadness, hope, suspense and fear are utilised well throughout and kept me fully engaged. The author is skilled in creating vivid images allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the story. It was a very enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to purchasing Ann’s future writing projects."
5 stars - Riveting!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 June 2022
"Very relatable with a thrilling ending. I didn't want this story to end. Thoroughly enjoyed it."
5 stars - Couldn't put it down!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 May 2022
"This can definitely be enjoyed as a stand alone novel, but I recommend reading Downhill and Dark Dreams first if you can.
The characters are completely believable and the plot keeps you wanting to turn the pages.
I enjoyed everything about this book- particularly the well drawn setting, which is a fictional version of my hometown.
I do hope there will be more books from Ann Thorsson based around Castle Ridge."
5 stars - Lots of twists to keep you gripped.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 May 2022
"Really enjoyed dark shadows there was lots of twists and turned.
I am normally good at working out what will happen next and a few times in this book I thought I worked out what was coming up and I got it completely wrong.
Gripping and easy reading book from start to finish I read it on kindle and the format was spot on.
100% worth a read."
5 stars - Brilliant and captivating
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2022
"Got so caught in the story, the storyline, and the characters. Thorsson has a brilliant and captivating way of telling a story, describing the characters and their lives. I can still smell Steve, all Alana's problems, childhood, the stalking, Jack in the middle of it all, the past/present with Will. Really nice to get a following up on Will and family, and the need to know if Alana/Elaine would get some deserved happiness in life, just kept me in suspense from start to finish."
Reviewed on Goodreads - 26.04.2022
"Sequel of Downhill (which I also highly recommend!), this novella can be read as a standalone nevertheless.
Following a traumatic event in her teenage years, Elaine has left her village, changed her name (she is now Alana), and has become a famous author. She still is plagued though by the memories of her involvement in the tragic accident involving the death of a child...
Her life looks now perfect, she returns to her village to work on a new book and maybe face her past? She will not be alone in this quest, as she starts getting spooked by some unexplainable (to her!) occurrences: is she being stalked? Have her imagination, her compulsive anxiety and obsession taken over? I particularly enjoyed that though this novel (177 pages!) is short, the author succeeded in making me straight away feel very anxious and fearful for and with Alana!!!
5 stars - Tense, dark drama
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 April 2022
"This is the follow up book to ‘Downhill’ but I think it can easily be read as a stand alone as well
Alana is a now famous author but cannot settle re her past, she makes the decision to rent her old home via airbnb from her ex Jack and his new wife Olivia to concentrate on her writing, is this asking for trouble?, Maybe but she is sure it is the right way forward
However when she gets there almost immediately things start to go wrong and then a ‘tramp’ is discovered to be living in the very close vicinity, accepted it seems by the locals ( who are a great set of village characters ) but Alana is unsure, who is he and what does he want?
The authors 3rd book in her own ‘spooky’ style, this is a good drama that I enjoyed and had me questioning the whole way through"
READER REVIEWS FOR DARK DREAMS
5 stars - An intense thriller with well-built characters
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2022
Having loved Ann Thorsson's 'Downhill', I went into 'Dark Dreams' without any knowledge of the story but knowing it was going to be an intense experience. Once again Thorsson creates believable characters and makes them go through extreme situations without losing the sense of what makes them human. It's remarkable how sympathetic the protagonist remains, even after committing an unspeakable act, for we understand what led her to that awful crime. There are no easy solutions in this book, which makes for a complex and rewarding experience.
4 stars - A dark tale.
Reviewed in the United States on 15 March 2022
"Dark Dreams is a dark tale involving worst case scenarios. Intolerance, torment, isolation, and psychological trauma culminate in a horrific event which taps into the supernatural. Thorsson weaves a tendril of light through the darkness, however, leaving the reader with the glimmer of a silver lining. Note: There is a scene or two which may be difficult for sensitive readers, but overall it’s a reflection of the best and worst of human behavior."
4 stars - Chilling, compelling and thought provoking!
Reviewed in Germany on 14 November 2021
This was a very good read despite its distressing topics while remaining thought provoking all the way through!
"Maggie has to fight many inner conflicts: loss of her father, a gang rape, her own sexuality, a pregnancy at 16 along with her mother's attitude to the situation. In the 1970's, being a single mother was definitely a difficult situation! Add to it, rape, a baby and infanticide, Maggie's psychological and emotional state is at its lowest. Keeping those vital secrets from her mother, Maggie is trying to deal with her life, trauma, guilt, freedom, revenge, justice... I read this novel in one go, not only because of its shortness, but also because Maggie woke some emotions in me (compassion, anger, helplessness) and I wanted to know whether she will be saved from herself. A conflicting, intense read which I highly recommend!"
5 stars - Absolutely fantastic book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2021
"Having read Ann's brilliant first novel 'Downhill' I was eager to read this, 'Dark Dreams' her second book. It was NOT a disappointment, utterly gripping, twisty and turny, could not put it down. Totally involved with the characters, especially Maggie, love her, hate her, sympathise with her, or all three? Big shock on page 65, did not see that coming at all. I will definitely be recomending 'Dark Dreams' to friends. A fantastic book."
5 stars - Unexpected Thriller!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 December 2020
"Loved the plot! This one will stay in my head for a long time!"
5 stars - Once again I got carried away by the words of Ann Thorsson.
Reviewed in the United States on 30 November 2020
"Once again I got carried away by the words of Ann Thorsson, what an amazing read. She Got me captured from start to finish with her ability to tell a story, her way to portrait each person, surroundings and the period of time. Am so ready for Ann Thorsson’s next book."
Online (Facebook) Review - 10.11.2020
"Dark Dreams is one of those books you can't put down once you begin - a book that keeps you up all night because it is so damn good! Ann made every character authentic and believable. At the end I was in tears for Maggie and her loved ones. I absolutely loved reading her story and I can´t wait to read more of Ann Thorsson´s books."
5 stars - Couldn’t put it down!
Reviewed in the United States on 4 November 2020
"Incredibly good book, and very well written. The author creates a vivid and powerful story that leaves an impact on the reader.
I absolutely recommend this book and also Ann’s first book “Downhill”. Both are excellent and I hope there will be more coming."
9/10 (5 stars)
Review by Mark Fearn (Online Book Reviewer) - 14.10.2020
‘Dark Dreams’ by Ann Thorsson published by UK Book Publishing on Sept 8th this year
"I LOVED ‘Downhill’ the authors first book ( out last year and I read it earlier this year ) and so was keen to read ‘Dark Dreams’
An apt title for an uncomfortable in many respects read, uncomfortable doesn’t mean a bad read it means it wasn’t an easy read a lot of the time but then the subjects covered including gang rape and infanticide are not meant to be light hearted
Maggie is struggling to come to terms with her sexuality and the bullying she is receiving when the unthinkable happens, pregnant and pretty much alone her Mum shoos her away to the local nunnery to ‘be out of sight’ until she has the baby, once she does she goes against all advice and keeps it and life goes from bad to
worse, after another unthinkable event Maggie has no choice but to ‘start again’ and eventually finds happiness with Charley, but the past has a habit of resurfacing and as the book continues we see this happen and the sadness, guilt and revelations this brings
Told with the authors flair for past decades descriptive writing ( inc the music, fashion, attitudes and world events ) alongside emotion and passion this thought provoking read will have you questioning many aspects and actions within the story
A special mention for Maggies Mum who played a great character and indicative of many parents of that time
I think this book will stay with anyone who reads it long after finishing it"
5 stars - Dark Dreams - A gripping novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 October 2020
"Dark Dreams is an engrossing read. Ann Thorsson uses a range of vivid and haunting imagery to steer the reader through harrowing experiences. Her skilful writing style allows the reader to simultaneously feel horror at the actions of the main character while retaining compassion about her circumstances. The storyline lingered in my mind long after I had finished reading the book."
5 stars - Brilliant page Turner.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 October 2020
"Where do I start. Mix of feeling after reading this book as you feel very connected to the chareters and story's. A good page turner and very hard to put down. Have recommended Dark dreams to bother book lovers to try." [sic]
5 stars - Gave me a front row seat on a roller-coaster of emotions...... Breathtakingly brilliant..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2020
"Started to read Dark Dreams as soon as I bought it. Couldn't put it down. I thought Downhill took some beating but this book is fabulous. The characters are deep and interesting the plot made me angry, sad and in parts very scared.
PRE-RELEASE REVIEWS FOR DARK DREAMS -
“From the beautifully crafted sentences to the simple but powerful ingredients, Thorsson turns the words into a film playing in your mind. She knows how to make the characters jump off the page!”
“Highly authentic for the time period and characters that conjure every emotion in the reader. The unpredictable, dark and even ghostly events make this twisted tale a must-read.”
“Another good book (by Thorsson) that was easy to get into and kept me dying to see what happens next! I really felt the atmosphere of the book and got to know the characters well.”
"I think that your book is absolutely brilliant. When I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about the characters. It just feels so real."
"Love the Prologue, got me so excited and curious."
"Ann Ann Ann...where have you been all my reading life..."
"Brilliant!!!!! Absolutely love it!!!! The ending/conclusion really gives you something to think about."
READER REVIEWS FOR DOWNHILL -
4 stars - A bit of Bozer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 April 2021
I bought this book when I found out that the fictional Castle Ridge is actually Bolsover, my home town.
As the protagonists are roughly my age, I could easily identify with them and their location as they met, married and lived through the miner's strike. It was really easy for me to picture the locations and of course I read the dialogue to myself in good owd Derbyshire dialect.
The storyline isn't always easy on the reader, dealing with job loss, abuse and death, but the whole is believable and well plotted.
The characters, whilst being believable, did not 'hook' me, and I did not feel that connection that often occurs between the reader and a character with any of them.
Worth dipping in to, particularly if you know the area.
5 stars - Characters You'd Care About
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2021
"The author creates characters I care about and want to keep on reading to find out what happens to them. They sound very real in their North England coal mining country brogue. The twists and turns remind me of a psycho thriller. Very enjoyable read."
5 stars - A brilliant read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 July 2020
Format: Kindle - Verified Purchase
"A really good story set against a backdrop of one of the mist [sic] traumatic times in British history. It has good character development and the storyline has enough twists and turns to keep your interest levels up. Put aside a weekend and enjoy a well crafted story that you will find difficult to put down."
Review by Mark Fearn, online book-reviewer (09.07.2020)
10/10 - 5-stars
‘Downhill’ by Ann Thorsson published in May 2019 by UK BOOK PUBLISHING
248 Kindle Flicks
"Well, this was something completely different, billed as a ‘80’s Romeo and Juliet love story set up North’ it had a lot to deliver on, and it did
Ged and Julie are from the opposite ends of the social scale but meet and fall in love, the story follows their courtship and married life and the difficulties they face being so ‘different’ ( both Mums of the 2 are played brilliantly, I especially loved Beryl, Ged’s Mum, who caused some real LOL moments )
But that’s really where the story starts not ends and it took a surprising turn into marital physical abuse after the loss of a child and a Mothers anguish, harrowing subjects but dealt with really well by the author in her no nonsense, plain speak that was the same throughout the book
The ending caught me off guard and will everyone who reads it....
Perfect 80’s feel is evoked with the music and ‘things about the house’ and of course it is set in a mining village so the Miners Strike and all that that brought is really poignantly described
Its emotive, funny, sad, shocking at times and REAL, the writing style is real and bold and I loved that, I enjoyed the references to Derbyshire ( most of my family are living back there ) and can honestly say its a book of many surprises that endeared itself to me and will do any reader"
5 stars - Easily relatable characters and plot
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 July 2020
Format: Kindle - Verified Purchase
"I couldn’t put it down! The characters are so real and I grew up in the same setting so it took me back to my childhood. A fast moving story too, no lulls. Really enjoyed it."
5 stars - Buy it, read it, you will not be disappointed.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 July 2020
"Wow! What a fantastic read, could not put it down. The characters are so real, so believable. Set in a mining town around the trying times of Thatchers Britain, telling of the ups and tragic downs of a young couple meeting and making their way in the world. You can't help but fall in love with the characters, wanting to know what is around the corner, sometimes good, sometimes bad, tragically bad.
Congratulations Ann on your debut novel, I loved it."
5 stars - An incredibly engaging book
Reviewed in Spain on 1 April 2020
Format: Paperback - Verified Purchase
"Since the coronavirus lockdown started, I have been quite bored at home. I was recommended this book and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! It has an incredibly engaging story, shivers down my spine. No doubt the best thing it has happened to me these last 15 days have been reading this book! I highly recommended! Daily live situations with a lot of secrets hidden. I was thinking this could be happening in front of my eyes and I wouldn't be aware!
Kudos to the Author."
27 September 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Strong Stuff
"'Downhill' is endearing and scary, sweet and disturbing, all at the same time. It's a story about life and the many twists and turns it can take. Without spoiling much, this is the story of a couple, Julie and Ged, who fall in love young, get married and have kids... and it's all downhill from there.
The book gets really intense in the second half, and some actions from the main characters caught me by surprise. It can be hard to read at some points, but that's because we get to love the characters and wish their lives wouldn't take certain directions. To me, only a well written and powerful book can do that. And that's why I enjoyed 'Downhill' so much!"
11 September 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - A great read!
"I really enjoyed this story. It is based in the 80s in a Yorkshire mining town. It is a really, gritty story. The characters are all very relatable, and the story is easy to read and understand."
August 14, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Gripping story and 1980s nostalgia
"Loved this book. I took it on holiday and the short chapters made it perfect to dip in and out of. It was quite an addictive story though so I rarely put it down. It has been well researched in terms of the 1980s nostalgia so is very authentic of the time period in which it's set. Really good read."
July 16, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Breathtaking!
"A great novel with great music in it. Can’t wait for the next one from the author."
July 7, 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Grabs you in
"For a first time author, Thorsson has an act of grabbing the reader’s attention and curiosity from the start. Highly recommend and looking forward to her follow-up work."
23 June 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Praise for Ann Thorsson!
"Praise for Ann Thorsson, what a read, so well written and such a insight in each character, their community and the period of time. Had a really hard time putting the book down, always needed to know more about what will happen next. Can’t wait to read more of Ann Thorsson’s work."
June 19, 2019 (Kindle format)
5 stars - Excellent read!
"Great book and a story line that took a very surprising turn. It was hard to put it down. I highly recommend it!"
4 June 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Absolute must read, brilliant book.
"This book had me right from the beginning and brought me back in time with endless smiles and the odd tear.
Unforeseeable twists and turns.
Hard to believe that this is the authors first book."
30 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - A good page-turner!
"A very enjoyable read which will keep your attention right through! The subject matter is a little unexpected and unusual and not one often aired, particularly in the 1980s. Well done Ann for helping to bring such a difficult topic to the fore, especially in this, your first novel. The ending was a surprise, wasn’t expecting that!"
27 May 2019 (paperback)
4 stars - Get it, Read it, Love it!
"A great read which connects you beautifully to the time and place.
And then out of nowhere throws you into a spin of questions that you just have to keep reading to find the answers.
Get it, Read it, Love it!
And then tell a friend!"
19 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - An exceptional debut work written by a very talented writer.
"A strikingly bleak narrative chronicling the desperately difficult times experienced by a good many people that includes asides and references that are so obviously familiar to quite a few of us from that era I think. The ethos of a very dark period in English social history is presented here quite brilliantly within the framework of a very familiar story line. You can almost smell the contents of this book as you turn each page, more so if one has experienced first hand a little of the darkness chronicled within. A fast paced, effortless read too, due in part to the very short chapters. An exceptional debut work written by a very talented writer. Well done indeed."
18 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - Excellent reading! Could not put it down.
"One of the best books I have read in a long time! Being from the north, this background and this era I can resonate with quite a few parts of the story line. Could not put it down! An excellent read and can't wait for another book by this author."
17 May 2019 (paperback)
5 stars - So very easy to read and well written.
"This is by far one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I got it on Tuesday and just finished it. Excellent book for being the authors first novel. When’s the next Novel out?"