Welcome to my stop on the The Shadow in the Glass blog tour! Huge thanks to Random Things Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this! I was provided a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Publication Date: 18/03/2021
Length: 414 pages
Genre: Gothic | Historical Fiction
CW: sexual assault, murder
Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.GoodReads
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.
I really enjoyed reading Eleanor’s/Ella’s progression through the novel. Due to the situation she found herself in you can’t help but root for her throughout the entire novel. You want things to work out for her which grips the reader, Eleanor is just so likeable that you want to know how everything will end for her and for Aoife. I also really liked the character of Charles, he was so different from his father and kind to the girls that you wanted him to be happy too. Through his character you also learn just how far Mr. Pembroke’s control reaches, it isn’t just the maids but his own son too.
Although Mr. Pembroke is, arguably, the main villain in this novel there is a whole host of characters that could also take this title. It was because of this that the novel was so reminiscent of a classic fairytale. It was clear which characters you should like and dislike, however it did add a mere contemporary that by muddying the waters of this sometimes, especially as the novel progresses. Not only with the side characters but with the protagonists too.
In this novel Harwood wonderfully combines the fairytale of Cinderella with the story of Dr. Faustus (which is one of my favourite plays). Ordinarily I would never have thought that these two stories would be a good pairing but, through Harwood’s clever writing it brought a fresh new take on two classics. One that is wonderfully dark and complex. I also didn’t know how the novel would end, or even the consequences of each wish. Would it follow the lead of classic Cinderella, Disney’s Cinderella or even Dr. Faustus? I really enjoyed the tension which Harwood heightened by sprinkling in moments of respite.
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read and has all the familiarity of a gothic fairytale. One I highly recommend that you read, especially if you’re a fan of Christina Henry.