Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest Book Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Today,  I have the wonderful Maria from Simply Austen with a book review to share with you all! Maria and I share an obsession for all things Jane Austen and are both on our way to being English teachers, so I couldn't be more excited for her to guest post today! Maria recently read Mist of Midnight and is here at Peace Love Books to share with you all what she though! 

Mist of Midnight
By Sandra Byrd
Release Date: March 10, 2015

Thank you so much for having me Jessica! I’m so excited to share my review of Mist of Midnight with you and your followers.

Summary: 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 also 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.

Review: I’m always looking for a good Gothic romance. Ever since I read Jane Eyre in high school, I’ve been a fan of the genre. The intriguing mystery, suspicious characters, and dark hero are a combination that is hard to resist. Sandra Byrd delivers all of that in her inspirational new novel, Mist of Midnight.

Rebecca Ravenshaw returns home to England after twenty years as a missionary in India as an orphan. Expecting a warm welcome to her family’s home, she is shocked to realize that someone had impersonated her and then died within months. Everyone is suspicious of Rebecca, including the broodingly handsome Captain Luke Whitfield, who has taken over her family home. Rebecca must prove her identity as she unravels the mystery of who impersonated her and discover who Luke truly is and how she feels about him.

From the first pages, you are swept into the plot with beautiful imagery and language of India and England. During some of the passages in this book, I felt like I was in the tantalizing tropical atmosphere of India. Byrd handled the transitions and flashbacks between the two locations very smoothly.

Rebecca was a heroine who I empathized with from the beginning. She was smart and courageous, but was still vulnerable enough that she wasn’t sickeningly perfect. I especially enjoyed that she had to have the staff and her neighbors help her understand English social customs; those situations showed her awkward side and were written well to show the intricacies of English society.

The mystery was a driving force in the book; I kept reading because I had to find out who had been the imposter, where the Indian maid was, what was true and what was not, and all the secrets that Luke hid. However, the plot wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste. I would have loved to see a few more climactic scenes, or some more stumbling blocks that Rebecca would have to overcome. I won’t discount the ending though, I enjoyed it immensely!

Overall, if you are looking for a fun Gothic romance with a few hints of inspiration, you should definitely check out Mist of Midnight. There were small details that bothered me, but the book as a whole is strong and is worth the time spent reading it. Sandra Byrd impressed me; I had never read one of her works before, but I certainly will be looking forward to seeing what will be next in her Daughters of Hampshire series.

If you are interested in seeing more reviews or general book ramblings by me, stop by my blog, Simply Austen,, or my Twitter @simplyausten, where I talk about anything and everything Jane Austen. 

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