The Shadow Hour is a historical fiction novel that skips between two separate years (1922 and 1878) and follows the story of Grace, a woman who has been sent to a stately home called Fenix House to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother as a governess, but the reason as to why her grandmother has sent her there is clouded in mystery.
At 528 pages in Paperback, is this book worth your time? Find out below!
As mentioned, this plot skips between two periods. The first period tells us about the present (which is the 1920’s in this story) whereby we meet Grace. A character who has grown up with her grandmother’s stories about Fenix House and the people who resided there so she’s quite scared yet excited to travel there as a governess. Reading her journey to this place had me riddled with curiosity, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about these stories her grandmother had lived through and the people that resided at the house now. Additionally, everything was described in rich detail, so much so that the environment felt alive and as much a part of the story as the characters. The detailing of the overgrown gardens and vines on the Fenix stately home in 1922 hinted as to what kind of characters lived in the house, and I found that it also have the house a sense of character. A building that had endured and seen so much as well as growing old with time.
As for the other period, which is set in 1878, we meet the other main character. She is the grandmother of Grace, and here we get to read about her experience working at Fenix House and what kind of life she lived while there. If I’m honest, I knew that some things were going to happen, such as romance, but some of the plot twists that appear and the behaviour of other characters really threw me off and had me scoffing, gasping and really feeling something for some of the characters. The story was something I could half guess and half couldn’t, leaving me shocked at some of the scenes that played out and utterly speechless at others.
Plot Rating: 3½ out of 4 Stars
Each character played a significant role within this story, with Grace being the one to uncover which person plays which role. I found that this element allowed me, as the reader, to bond better with Grace as we are learning alongside her and uncovering these secrets with her. Granted, I didn’t have an initial opinion about Grace when I started the book, but as I progressed I found her to be a simple character who just wants to get to the bottom of her grandma’s stories. She’s nothing exceptionally special, but how she came to be was a real shock (which I’ll leave for you to discover).
As for Grace’s grandma, I actually felt quite neutral towards her and then began to slowly develop a liking for her because of how complicated her life became during her time employed at the house. She was a character that related to most young women (at least in my opinion) whereby she just wanted to get on with work but also faced challenges she wish she didn’t have to endure and became a part of situations she didn’t ask to be involved in. Love, sadness and mystery a part of her story and I thought this matched quite well with a simple woman because it allowed to character development and potential change which would offer shock to the reader as well as excitement.
There are numerous characters within this historical fictional novel, therefore I’d like to sum them all up in one word rather than describe them in paragraphs: riveting.
Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars
As per usual when starting off a book, the beginning didn’t have me hooked instantly so it took a while for me to get into it, however it does get interesting rather quickly (around 20 pages in) because it gets straight into it. Grace is setting off towards Fenix House and talks about what her grandmother told her, and from here we are learning alongside Grace when it comes to the truth about the house and family, therefore gripping you as you read. So in all, is it gripping? Yes.
Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars
Altogether, I’d say that I found The Shadow Hour to be a very interesting book that had me more curious after each chapter and tempting me to re-read Jane Eyre due to the reminiscent themes. I wouldn’t re-read this particular book again, but I’m glad I read it at least once.
Overall Rating: 3½ + 4 + 2 = 9½ out of 10 Stars
For more information regarding The Shadow Hour and any other reviews, please visit www.goodreads.com
Have you read this book? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!