Streets of Shadow

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
386 Pages
Reviewed on 02/20/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Streets of Shadow by Rebecca Bischoff is a historical fiction novel that follows its protagonist, Kenna Somerled, a 17th-century teenager and granddaughter to an earl. Her life at this point should be on the brink of blooming and not the deadly spiral that lands her locked in a labyrinth of underground streets that make up Stewart's Close in Edinburgh. She discovers a vial that leaves no doubt that her older sister, being the only parent Kenna had known since the death of their parents, was murdered by her sister's husband, Oliver. News of a plague in the household makes its way rapidly to Edinburgh, and Kenna is charged with knowingly spreading 'pestilence' and locked in the close where nobody is willing to help her, out of fear she is plagued and contagious. Still a child herself, Kenna finds herself caring for a young girl named Annie as she is again suspected of a new crime, the murder of her own sister, and must now not only prove her sister was murdered, but that she was not the one who did it.

Rebecca Bischoff is a master of suspense, taking a familiar lady aristocrat-turns-street-vermin theme and spinning it into a fresh mystery in Streets of Shadow. As a reader that lives in the UK, I have had the great fortune of touring the warren of streets that make up the formerly hidden closes of Edinburgh. When I saw that Streets of Shadow used it as a setting, I was immediately drawn to the story. Bischoff does Stewart's Close one better and breathes so much life into it that it almost becomes a character itself. The writing is tight, engrossing, and keeps the tension threading through each page. I loved that Kenna's coming of age begins before our very eyes, where she finds the strength to care for herself in the dark underbelly of the city, forms a bond with little Annie, and even experiences her first kiss. Still, the jaw-dropper is a completely unexpected twist at the end that will have readers checking back in the story and realizing the clues were there all along, if only we, and Kenna, had not been so blinded to what we were certain to be true. I'm a fan. My goodness, now all I want is a shelf full of Bischoff's books. Very highly recommended.


A must read for all book lovers