Book Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour

Book Review: The Mirk and Midnight HourThe Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson
Published by Random House LLC on March 11th 2014
Pages: 384
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A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor. Someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion.

Against the dangers of war and threatening powers of voodoo, Violet fights to protect her home, her family, and the man she’s begun to love.

From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

thoughtThe Mirk and Midnight Hour is a retelling of Tam Lin, a fairy tale I am not as familiar with, but will definitely be reading more into soon. Set during the Civil War, Violet is still mourning the loss of her twin brother when her father announces he is not only going off to war, but marrying a widow and she will have a new stepsister along with a stepmother. Of course, her new stepsister is one she cannot stand, but she tries her best to get along with them as they move in. The coming of her younger cousin also makes her anxious, a young boy who seems to be scared of everything, especially his older half-brother.

I liked the twists of this book and there is more than one form of danger for Violet. There is the strange family, of whom she is kind to the girl of the family. They are odd characters and the townpeople fear them and are not friendly towards them. There is an unearthly feeling when they are around that even Violet notices. Her other dilemma is Dorian, her cousin who seems to both be interested in her and her new stepsister, but she pushes back on his advances and he seems to relent for most of the book. You can tell right away that he is not a good character, but a charmer. I knew he would play some sort of devious role later on in the book.

Thomas is the love interest of the book and I think this is where it felt a little odd. Violet feels drawn towards him after she finds him, and she tries to bring him food and figure out the purpose behind the strange family taking care and saving him. He reminds her of her twin brother and cannot wait to visit him. She brings along her younger cousin and it is their small secret. Of course, once she learns the real reason behind him being kept healthy, she runs off to save the day. Her only real power is that she seems protected by bees, something her brother once said to her about listening to them keeps her out of danger.

The writing of the book is beautiful and I loved the intricate personalities of each character with their own flaws and downfalls. Violet is the strongest of the characters, besides her slave Lainey who speaks her mind to Violet but is smart to keep quiet around others. Violet thinks of her more as a friend than as a slave. There’s also the crazy lady down the street that seems to rope Violet into her house on more than one occasion to warn her about the goings-on around the town. Overall, I was definitely charmed by this book and pulled into the story.

Verdict:

An enjoyable retelling with just enough romance, danger and intrigue.

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3 responses to “Book Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour

  1. I haven’t heard of this book! It sounds pretty interesting. I do love retellings, especially on stories that I am unfamiliar with. Violet sounds like an interesting character. I’ll have to give it a try!

  2. Ooo. I have this book waiting on my TBR pile and you just reminded me that I need to read it soon. It sounds so interesting!!

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