The Purple Shadow blog tour

Book Review: The Purple Shadow

Today’s blog tour is for The Purple Shadow by Christopher Bowden. An eerie painting with an interesting past and hidden secrets. @rararesources | #ChristopherBowden

Book Cover Notes

In the years before the war, Sylvie Charlot was a leading light in Paris fashion with many friends among musicians, artists and writers.  Now she is largely forgotten.  Spending time in Paris during a break in his acting career, Colin Mallory sees a striking portrait of Sylvie.  Some think it is a late work by Édouard Vuillard but there is no signature or documentary evidence to support this view.

The picture has some unusual qualities, not least the presence of a shadow of something that cannot be seen.  Perhaps the picture was once larger.  Colin feels an odd sense of connection with Sylvie, who seems to be looking at him, appealing to him, wanting to tell him something.  Despite a warning not to pursue his interest in her portrait, he is determined to find out more about the painting, who painted it, and why it this view hidden for many years.  

Colin’s search takes him back to the film and theatre worlds of Paris and London in the 1930s – and to a house in present-day Sussex.  As he uncovers the secrets of Sylvie’s past, her portrait seems to take on a life of its own.   

Book review The purple shadow by Christopher Bowden

My Thoughts

Colin Mallory, an actor currently between roles (bored and out-of-work), is invited to dinner by an acquaintance. Whilst there, he is intrigued by a painting hanging on the apartment wall. Apparently it was found behind a wall during renovations. Why was it hidden behind a wall? Colin can’t stop looking at the striking portrait of Sylvie Charlot.

Something’s not quite right with the painting? What is it that’s out of place? Why is there a shadow on the rug when there’s nothing else in the room except the beautiful Sylvie? Who was the artist as there doesn’t appear to be a signature?

Colin can’t get the vision of this eerie painting out of his mind. So he decides to investigate the history and story behind the painting. A story that takes Colin from Paris to London, following clues that lead him into theatre archives, galleries and museums as he pieces together a love story set in the 1930’s. 

The Purple Shadow was a welcome escape from the real world for a few hours. The book took me away from it all, back to 1930s Paris. I imagined Sylvie at the height of her career in the Paris fashion world. Surrounded by beautiful things and the power to influence the women of Paris with her latest fashions. But at what personal cost?


An eerie and atmospheric read. Ultimately, this is a story about young love and the price to pay when living in a world of fashion and entertainment.

If like me, you love books that take you away for a while to beautiful places, such as Paris, then you will enjoy The Purple Shadow.

About the Author

Christopher Bowden lives in south London. He is the author of six colour-themed novels, which have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay.

Where to Find Christopher online:

Where to buy: (Amazon UK)

Book Review The Purple Shadow by Christopher Bowden

Book Blog Tour Hosted by

Rachel’s Random Resources

Thanks to Rachel @rararesources for inviting me on the tour. Also thanks to Christopher Bowden for my digital copy of the book.  All views are my own.

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