Nineteen twenty-two. Grace has been sent to the stately and crumbling Fenix House to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps as a governess. But when she meets the house’s inhabitants, people who she had only previously heard of in stories, the cracks in her grandmother’s tale begin to show. Secrets appear to live in the house’s very walls and everybody is resolutely protecting their own.
Why has she been sent here? Why did her grandmother leave after just one summer? And as the past collides with the present, can Grace unravel these secrets and discover who her grandmother, and who she, really is?
I’m a bit of a sucker for a good historical novel with dual storylines; I’m a huge fan of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Susannah Kearsley and Rachel Hore (among others) and know that, whenever I fancy reading something fairly easy but enjoyable, with secrets and family dynamics thrown in, one of these authors will more than satisfy! I really enjoyed The Girl In The Photograph, the only other book (so far!) that I’ve read by Kate Morton, and so was very excited to give her new novel, The Shadow Hour, a go!
Both Grace and Harriet’s storylines have their own intriguing elements and, as always, it’s quite interesting to try and work out how they are connected (apart from being grandmother and grandaughter, obviously!) The two narratives reveal a lot about each character and their thoughts and feelings, and Kate Riordan’s descriptions are very vivid and descriptive, meaning you often feel like you’re right there with them! There are lots of possibilities and ‘could-have-beens’ throughout the novel, and you wonder what actually happened and what the outcome for Harriet was all those years ago. There’s elements of revenge, family rivalries and some threatening undertones, all of which add to the novel’s slightly dark (at times) atmosphere. It still manages to retain a largely compelling and captivating novel which is perfect for a lazy afternoon read in the English sunshine (if only!)
The Shadow Hour is quite a long novel, at over 500 pages, and at times it did feel like it could have been cut down slightly, but I still really enjoyed reading it. I’d definitely recommend for anyone who fancies reading some well-written, historical fiction.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review