Publication date: 25th February 2016
Harriet Jenner is just twenty-one when she walks through the gates of Fenix House. Reeling from a personal tragedy, she doesn't expect her new life as a governess to be easy. But she certainly does not foresee the spell Fenix House will cast.
Almost fifty years later, Harriet's granddaughter Grace follows in her footsteps. For Grace, raised on Harriet's spellbinding stories, Fenix House is a fairy tale; a magical place suspended in time.
But the now-faded grandeur of the mansion soon begins to reveal the holes in Harriet's story and Grace finds herself in a place of secrets and shadows. For Fenix House hides truths about her family, and everything that she once knew is about to change. (Publisher's Blurb)
Mostly I read Young Adult these days, though I was intrigued by the premise of this when I discovered it on Twitter. I was optimistic about the historical, mysterious feel to the blurb and this book absolutely lived up to it!
Often when a novel has alternating viewpoints, I find myself rushing to my favourite character. Both Grace and Harriet had compelling story lines and I loved trying to work out the connections between their stories. All of the characters were interesting in their own ways and it was great to spot some of them in both narratives.
The writing style of 'The Shadow Hour' felt enviably effortless. The alternating first and third person narratives were both executed brilliantly. Kate Riordan's descriptions of Fenix House between the two time periods were suitably creepy and reminiscent of various Bronte novels. The historical aspects seemed well-researched and the modern sensibility behind this made it feel dark and gritty.
I'm guilty of having quite a short attention span when it comes to books, generally preferring YA because I can finish them in a few days. This book was addictive, with really suspenseful chapter endings that insisted I read on. There was no point in this that my attention wandered and I raced through the 500 pages!
At this point I usually try to think of something I didn't like but I have absolutely no complaints about this book! It comes out tomorrow and I would recommend it to anyone who wants an intriguing mystery that will keep them reading all night!
If you liked the sound of this, now try:
The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan (which I haven't read but also sounds brilliant!)