Rating: 4 Stars
Review: If "Mist of Midnight" is any indication, Sandra Byrd's new series "The Daughters of Hampshire" will be full of Gothic style suspense. "Mist of Midnight" is as veiled in mystery as the title suggests with layers upon layers of intrigue. Rebecca Ravenshaw returns to England following a deadly uprising in India, only to discover that a now deceased impostor has stolen her identity. In the first couple of chapters, the central questions are established: who was Rebecca's impostor and how did she truly die? Those mysteries set the basis for the rest of the novel. It seems that deadly danger lurks around every corner, waiting to pounce on Rebecca. Characters and their actions are constantly in question, until truth is revealed.
Byrd tells the story solely from Rebecca's perspective, which keeps the suspense high. As readers, we can only speculate about the motives of each character and form our own theories about some of the suspicious occurrences. While I appreciate the first person point-of-view for the added element of mystery, it let me down in the love story. The further I progressed in the novel, the more I realized that there was only one love interest for Rebecca; however, he was also a character whose intentions were in question. The interaction between him and Rebecca is limited, and hindered by Rebecca's uncertainty about trusting him. Ultimately, I felt no satisfaction when their love finally developed. In fact, I would have been less disappointed if Rebecca had chosen to remain single. The mystery soared above the romance, and kept me interested in the book. Byrd threw in some unexpected twists when all of the simmering mysteries were answered. True to a Gothic-inspired novel, there are some eerie scenes, like strange lights in the mist and late night visits to graves. The fear factor is very light, but adds enough intrigue to keep readers coming back for more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Howard Books through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Summary from Howard Books: In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.
Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her...and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca's name, but her home and incomes.
That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father's investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?
A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.