Shadows in the Mind's Eye by Janyre Tromp
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?
About The Author
n case we get to meet in person some day, you pronounce that first name Jan-air. Kind of like the stove. I'm a developmental book editor by day and a writer at night.
And that all happens from my kitchen table when I'm not hanging out with my husband, two kids, and slightly eccentric Shetland Sheepdog. Unfortunately, I spilled coffee on my super cape and then the dryer ate it. So you'll just have to imagine I can do it all!
I have four traditionally published books—a WWII era novel, Shadows in the Mind's Eye; a juvenile fiction, That Sinking Feeling; and two board books in the All About God's Animals series—and 2 indie books—Wide Open, a historical novella and It's a Wonderful Christmas, a Christmas novella collection (coming October 2021).
But my passion is writing about the beauty of the world—past and present—even when it isn't pretty.
After all, isn't it the beauty in the world that gets us through the day?
Hopefully after you hang out with me for a bit, we'll be able to see things a little more clearly, find a little bit of meaning, and make a bigger impact.
With me what you see is what you get...all the Beautiful, all the Ugly, all the Me.
With each page I became more emotionally involved and couldn’t put the book down. Sam tugged on my heart so much the moment he stepped in the house where his wife was. It had been a long time since he had see her smile and his heart pounded with anticipation. Even though he was happy to be home from the war, he still felt out of place. The war did something to him that causes him to react to every noise, every strange movement and even words that sound different. I know he must be thinking that he was crazy but he has to overcome this darkness that is surrounding him.
Annie is thrilled her husband is home. She has been anticipating this moment forever it seems. With a smile on her face she greets Sam and feels safe in his arms once again. She hides the truth of being sad and lonely. How long has she been depressed? She senses that Sam has changed but she is not sure she has the strength to fight her own demons. The author delivers an emotional journey with Sam and Annie as they struggle to reconnect. I could feel their hesitation at sharing with each and at times they want to scream that they need help.
Dovie May is a woman who doesn’t mince words but gives compassion when needed. I love how she knew that Annie was struggling with the changes going on in her life. To me she was the glue that held the family together. There were times she could have been harsh, but her gentle yet firm spirit became the calming factor in this family deep with problems. I would love to have a Dovie May in my family. She knows how to diffuse a situation with grace and unconditional love.
The story is filled with truth and healing. Finding joy in the midst of sorrow is hard but it is where healing begins. Sam and Annie go through trials as they find their way back to happiness. I loved reading how they shared their innermost thoughts with each other and grew in their relationship with each other.
As danger starts to set in around the farm, Sam needs to convince everyone that something illegal is going on but will anyone believe him? The story gets intense as Sam realizes that he has not been hallucinating about the shadows he has been seeing. The question is who can he trust with what he has discovered? The author gave me shivers as I was a witness to evil that visited the farm. Get ready for an adventure where darkness tries to take away healing and twists in the story give way to danger.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Read with Audra Blogging Program. The review is my own opinion.
“It’s where things is broke that the joy shows through.”
An Interview with Janyre Tromp,
Author of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye
In Shadows in the Mind’s Eye (Kregel Publications),debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense as she takes readers back in time to 1940s Hot Springs, Arkansas.
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 came 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.
When Sam claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence. 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?
Q: The back of the book describes Shadows in the Mind’s Eye as, “A deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense.” In your own words, introduce us to your debut novel.
Charlotte Anne Mattas wants to go back to the way things were before her husband, Sam, left their farm for the war in the Pacific. Sam used to be her protector, but when he arrives home in Spring of 1946, his battle fatigue has everyone questioning his sanity and her safety… especially after he nearly kills his brother, then claims to see men on the mountain where no else has seen them. Are there really dangerous men on the mountain or is his twisted mind conjuring things that aren’t there?
In the tradition of Hitchcock with a hint of psychological thriller, In the Mind’s Eye explores the illness we now call PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and persistent love in a world determined to destroy it.
Q: Sam and Charlotte Anne both expected life to go back to normal when he returned from the war, but that doesn’t exactly happen. How was life post-war different from what they expected? How does each of them respond to those differences?
This story actually began while talking to my grandparents over a glass of lemonade. My U.S. History professor had given us an assignment to talk to family about the Depression and/or World War II. Until that point, I’d had no real concept of what the war was like, either for the soldiers or their families back home. I guess I’d thought that the greatest generation slid back into life and easily became the loving people I knew my grandparents were in their 70s. When I discovered that wasn’t the case, I wondered how they had survived the fear and drastic changes.
Like my grandfather, Sam glorified the home front, anticipating a glorious homecoming, delicious food, a soft bed, and an easier life.Charlotte Anne expected Sam to quickly become part of the teamagain as they worked their peach orchard. Instead, Sam has nightmares and reacts to food he used to love (I even gave Sam a reaction to orange marmalade just like my grandfather). Sam tends to jump to conclusions because he doesn’t understand the context, struggles with the physicality of farm work, and is overwhelmed with the amount of work that has to be done since Charlotte Anne wasn’t able to do a lot of the upkeep.
At first, neither Sam nor Annie knows quite what to do with one another, but they’re determined to understand each other.Eventually they each open up to Sam’s mom, Dovie May, and she becomes a healing balm for each of them. If I had to give Dovie a theme, it would be: “You’d think holding joy right up against sadness would shatter a body. But it don’t. Joy, it sneaks in all around, sticks everything together, and finds a way to make you whole. See, light sneaks through the broken places.”
Q: In our current day, we are very aware of what PTSD is, and that it is very prevalent among men and women who have been in the military and seen war. What was known about PTSD back in the 1940s after World War II?
Although the general population didn’t shame WWII soldiers with PTSD symptoms as much as they did their WWI counterparts, WWII era doctors knew little about how to treat trauma of any kind. Battle fatigue, as it was known then, was treated with electroshock therapy (something that was terrifying and had limited success), and many of the men who suffered from it were often divorced, angry, confused, and quietly addicted to drugs and alcohol. Of course, I didn’t want to leave Sam and Annie here, so I dug for treatment options and talked with a few modern therapists.
In my research, those who fared best were often those who lived a little off the grid, in places where they could be physically active, with people who loved them and gave them the space to remove themselves when necessary. Sam also stumbles on a bit of a modern treatment technique by accident. Most folks have heardthat going for a walk can help with mental stability. What isn’t as familiar is that the rhythm of walking combined with talking can actually replicate bits and pieces of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy which is one of the most successful battlefield PTSD
The prize pack includes:
– A copy of Shadows in the Mind’s Eye,
– A custom made silver peach tree necklace inspired by the book,
– A “Light speaks through the broken places” t-shirt also inspired by the book.
Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.