Review of Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

About the book …

In 1858, Rebecca Ravenshaw leaves India and returns to England after the death of her missionary parents during the Indian Mutiny. After a grueling trip, she arrives in Hampshire, planning to move into the family estate where she spent her early childhood, only to discover that someone posing as Rebecca had already claimed her inheritance. The imposter died only months after her arrival—under suspicious circumstances—and now Rebecca must prove that she's the real heiress.

She learns that a distant relative, Captain Luke Whitfield, has assumed residence in her home as the rightful heir. Though Rebecca is attracted to the handsome and charming man, he’s secretive, and she isn’t sure he’s trustworthy. Too many questions plague her mind. Why did the woman posing as Rebecca die so suddenly? Why was she hastily buried at midnight? Why has the imposter’s bedroom been locked? And why has Rebecca seen eerie lights in the family graveyard at night?

My review …

I’ve enjoyed other novels written by Sandra Byrd, but Mist of Midnight has become my favorite. I’ve already read it twice in order to savor the beautiful prose. I also wanted to experience once again the mystery and intrigue that kept me guessing until the very end as to the identity of the imposter and whether Luke was a hero or a villain in disguise. I enjoyed the sweet moments between Rebecca and Luke that were softly seductive as well as scenes filled with tension. The setting (including the large house, the mist, and the graveyard), contributed to the darkness that readers associate with Gothic romances.

Rebecca is a strong heroine with a tender heart. Although she must adhere to the rules of society at that time and act like a proper lady, she’s still influenced by a different upbringing and isn’t a pushover. I like that. I also appreciate the subtle way in which Rebecca shares her faith. Sandra Byrd does a great job of including a spiritual thread naturally—in no way does it feel preached.

Through extensive research, the author wrote a novel rich with historical details regarding life in both India and England—yet those pieces were woven into the story with such skill that I was almost unaware of how much I was learning.

I loved this story and am looking forward to the next two books in the Daughters of Hampshire series.

Sandra Byrd is a best-selling author and has earned Library Journal's Best Books of the year pick twice, in 2011 for To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, and in 2012 for The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr. She's twice been a Christy Award finalist, for To Die For and for Let Them Eat Cake: A Novel. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I was published in April 2013.

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