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.
CW: sexual assault, murder
The Shadow in the Glass follows a young woman, Eleanor, who was left in the care of her mother’s employer upon her death. However, when the kind Mrs. Pembroke dies, Eleanor is stripped of her position in the family and her name. Life in Granborough House is much different for Ella the servant from the disdain from some of the other girls and constantly having to avoid the sleazy Mr. Pembroke. One day Ella stumbles across a book in the library which summons a mysterious woman who offers Ella seven wishes, but they come at a cost. Soon Ella discovers she should be careful what she wishes for.
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.