A Pattern of Shadows

General Fiction

By Ralph Fairhead

Publisher : Self-publshed through Trafford Publishing

ABOUT Ralph Fairhead

Ralph Fairhead
Now 83 years-old, fitted with a pace-maker and forbidden to indulge in contact sports, I suppose I will have to behave more responsibly from now on. Certainly I will not be making a comeback to the ring anytime soon. Nevertheless, I am happily married (still) with two children aged 51  More...


August 1914 - Throughout Europe, great men are making decisions; nations are invoking treaties; armies are mobilizing and the shadow of war creates uncertain patterns over people's lives. Unimagined savagery and slaughter is about to descend on an unsuspecting world.

In a village in Kent, the bewildering changes to their way of life are observed by three young people who have grown up together.

This is their story of self-discovery during that first month in which events they cannot control threaten to destroy them.

A Pattern Of Shadows

by Terry Fairhead

ISBN: 9781425142476

Reviewed By Linda Waterson

Official Apex Reviews Rating: 

Countless individuals all over the world have strong recollections of the images, events, and lasting impact of World War II. Hundreds of movies have been made, as well as books written, about the great conflict with the noble aim of ending tyranny across the globe; however, while notably fewer people have as strong a recollection of World War I, it doesn’t mean that the impact made by The War To End All Wars has had any less of an influence in shaping our common humanity.

In A Pattern Of Shadows, author Terry Fairhead sets out to display the real effects of such an impact, and he does so in admirable fashion. Chronicling the experiences of three young innocents whose lives are irrevocably changed during the run-up to and ultimate unfolding of the Great War, Fairhead puts a starkly human face on what would otherwise become a staid footnote in the annals of world history. Through the bonds of love, heartbreak, and endurance that unite the youngsters, Shadows presents the reader with a microcosm of the greater collective experience shared by the entire world during a time of fear and growing anxiety over a very uncertain future. In compelling fashion, Fairhead recounts in striking detail the multilayered dimensions of such a momentous time in world history.

For lovers of quality historical fiction rife with vivid characters and enrapturing storylines, A Pattern Of Shadows will surely not disappoint.


Critique by Peter Kettle in Meopham Review.

A Pattern of Shadows – Terry Fairhead

Trafford Publishing.  ISBN 978-1-4251-4247-6

 One of the perks of editorship is the receipt of occasional review copies of books. “A Pattern of Shadows” is the first I have had hand-delivered to the door and it is a pleasure to read. This is a first novel by Meopham-based Terry Fairhead and has been six years in the making. The story, or stories, unfolds over five weeks starting on 1st August 1914. It begins and ends in Kent, but takes in the first engagements of the Great War in northern France as well as a visit to the USA by one of the leading characters.


 The novel follows the lives of three young people caught up in momentous events: Alice and Ben are the children of the lord of the manor, Peter is the farmer’s son they have grown up with. A central aspect of the story is the love that grows between Alice and Peter until they are separated by the war, as he re-joins his cavalry regiment to sail for France. There are other love stories too, but the way in which the two main characters are forced apart by world events - as well as social status and past secrets - reminds me of two other recent war novels: Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong. In all three books the story of separated lovers provides a strong narrative drive at the centre of sweeping and terrifying historical events.

 The author has clearly put in a great amount of historical research, but the history is smoothly integrated into the story through conversation and newspaper headlines. We are used to thinking of the First World War in terms of the foul stalemate of the trenches, but in August 1914 the military action is still fast-moving. The battle scenes are well described, but mainly this is a book about how ordinary people face unexpected and sometimes dangerous events in the best way they can.



“A Pattern of Shadows” reviewed by Brenda M. Ogden

This is an enthralling novel set around the time of the First World War.  It is interesting in that it concentrates less on the events of the War itself and more on how the lives of people in a village in Kent are affected by the War.That said, there is one section centred on the lead up to the Battle of Mons where the realism of the description is quite riveting – not blood-thirsty or gory, just full of waiting menace and the sense of foreboding.

The characters are wide-ranging and totally believable, covering all levels of the social spectrum.  The social divisions of this period are made very clear, together with the problems created when anyone tries to cross those rigid barriers.

The reader’s interest is sustained throughout because the action moves backwards and forwards between Kent, London, France and America, always leaving one place at a high point of interest or tension before picking up another thread of the plot.  As reader you become totally drawn into the next phase or place in the story while still wanting to know “what happens next” in the section you have just left.

The whole novel feels rooted in reality because of the meticulous background research.  One particular device of using actual headlines from the newspapers of the time as chapter headings is particularly effective.

Above all, this is a beautifully written novel, with an easy and natural flow and imagery, which draws you into every event and every place.

An absolutely terrific read.



Brenda M Ogden