The Shadows Behind by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

I had the honor of writing the forward for Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s new book The Shadows Behind. Here’s what I had to say:

“I once wrote that whenever you look behind a ghost story, what you will find is eternal love, unbearable loss, and unconquerable fear. To this list Kristi Petersen Schoonover adds regret, and mistakes that can never be set right.

“These are the things that haunt us, creating, as Schoonover tells us in one of her stories, the shadows that “ghosts, or God knew what else” move into. The characters in her new collection, The Shadows Behind, occupy haunted, complicated worlds, where things go terribly wrong, and there is no easy way forward. People die, people hurt each other, people screw up, creating yet another monster to lurk in those dark corners we try so desperately to avoid. You can fight them, or you can surrender, but you cannot make them go entirely away. Sometimes the monsters win, sometimes you can even forge a truce, but they will always be there, and as long as you live there will always be more to join the growing crowd inhabiting the shadows. The characters who do best in Schoonover’s stories are the ones who embrace their shadows, and try to see them differently.

“This doesn’t necessarily lead to a happy ending, and this is what makes Schoonover’s stories so satisfying. How can a life in which death and loss are inescapable, a life in which we make devastating irreversible mistakes, ever be truly happy? Acceptance isn’t happy. It’s peaceful—and it is a worthy, and realistic goal. There is truth in the shadows, even if it isn’t pretty, and you will find all your friends there. By the end of The Shadows Behind, Kristi Petersen Schoonover has masterfully illuminated a path to a liberating peace, in a poignant and deliciously scary way; look directly into the shadows, listen to your heart, identify what you are grasping so tightly and let go. Otherwise, like some of Schoonover’s chilling characters, you will become the scariest—and deadliest—monster lurking in the darkness.”

A must, and fun, read!

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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