Review

MIST OF MIDNIGHT is the first book in the The Daughters of Hampshire series by  Sandra Boyd  and a light gothic with strong historical elements and authentic (formalized) romance.

Returning to her family estate after twenty years in India and the loss of her missionary parents in The Mutiny, Rebecca Ravenshaw doesn’t expect to discover an imposter has not only preceded her but also passed away, leaving a mystery in her wake.

Now Rebecca must prove her claim and adjust alone and friendless to what feels like a foreign land rather than home.

There are obvious differences in MIST OF MIDNIGHT and the Gothic’s I’ve read in the past. MIST OF MIDNIGHT doesn’t have the dark, oppressive, air of foreboding they all had in common. Rebecca’s movements are less restricted also. Rather than being confined to an isolated manor house or small village with few characters, MIST OF MIDNIGHT has Rebecca visiting the large village of Winchester to shop and see to errands, attending functions and balls, hosting picnics, being called on and making calls, and even venturing to London. In addition to these differences, there was no point where I believed Rebecca’s life was truly in peril; her well being and security perhaps but never her life. However, there is a lack of certainty regarding who is trustworthy. Who’s a friend and who’s a foe? I questioned each characters actions, honor, and possible motive(s).

I’m definitely on board for the next book in the series.

The central mystery involves Rebecca’s impersonator and her death. Who was this woman? How did she manage to arrive and lay claim to Headbourne and Rebecca’s monies before Rebecca could even obtain safe passage from India after the Mutiny? What happened to the woman’s Indian maid? Was her death truly self murder or did someone remove her for their own self serving reasons?

There are whispers and obvious snubs surrounding Luke, Captain Whitfield, dating from the imposter’s death and burial. As a distant relative her death benefited him greatly. Is he what he appears or does his friendly, thoughtful exterior hide sinister motives? Is Miss Delia Dainley’s offer of friendship and assistance genuine or are there strings attached? What about Rebecca’s French ladies maid, Michelene, who also served the imposter? What secrets is she hiding? The servants are borderline insubordinate with Rebecca excluding Landreth. What’s behind their manner? A plethora of questions for inquiring minds.

The defined, realistic characterizations are enhanced by Ms. Byrd’s incorporation of India, its culture, languages, and history into MIST OF MIDNIGHT. Its inclusion adds depth and historical interest, rounding out the story nicely. As to the ending (not the epilogue) I’m still of two minds.

Being a light gothic historical romance, it was a nice change of pace from recent reads so I’m definitely on board for the next book in the series.

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About the Reviewer

Ivy Truitt
Transplanted Southerner and avid reader. My tastes are eclectic. I discovered mysteries first then historicals in the era of Kathleen Woodiwiss & Rosemary Rogers. I was never able to finish Gone With the Wind, Scarlett got on my nerves too bad, but I loved Alaina in Ashes in the Wind. I also manage the guest author blog for Manic Readers. In addition to here you can find me on FB, Twitter, Goodreads, Librarything, & Riffle. Always up for talking about books, just gimme a holler!!