Though this novel takes place in the same universe as Nickerson’s previous novel Strands of Bronze and Gold, my review of which you can read here, it is not necessary to read in order.
Violet Dancey, seventeen, does her best to assist in the efforts of the fight against the North as she lives out her daily life in Mississippi. She tries to help wounded soldiers – though she hardly knows what she’s doing.
When her father announces that he is going to marry and Violet will have not just a new stepmother but also a stepsister – a girl her own age that she knows and does not particularly care for – she is not pleased. To have her comfortable little home invaded by strangers – while she’s still grieving her beloved soldier twin brother and relies on the support of her best friend, a slave her own age that is more like family – sounds devastating.
Then her home of Scuppernong Farm also is visited by two cousins – one very young and one closer to her age and dangerously handsome – and Violet has to accept that her home is now fit to burst with people.
But there are secrets in this town. A mysterious family that many shun. Wild voodoo dances in the woods. A cabin that may house someone forbidden to Violet.
Something isn’t right. Something is dangerous.
And it may be in Violet’s home.
I’m not so sure that I provided a synopsis that does The Mirk and Midnight Hour justice. Hopefully it will make you curious, though, because it is a quite wonderful book!
As I read The Mirk and Midnight Hour I savored the historical, atmospheric setting. There’s a gothic feel, yes, but also an environment that feels wholly believable in reality.
Violet is a very likable character – she’s compassionate, lonely, conflicted, grieving and plain. There are plenty of dramatic plots surrounding the Civil War, the family, slavery and enigmatic, otherworldly elements that are hinted at and slowly build.
The Mirk and Midnight Hour is suspenseful, full of heart and reflection and occasionally quite creepy! It’s also very romantic, well-paced and haunting. It showcases terrible human cruelty, a moment that turns the plot and leads to a heart-pounding, terrifying climax.
I found the supernatural elements of the book to be suitable chilling and unsettling. Very much so!
The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a satisfying meal of a book. I highly recommend it!!!
I hope to see more from Jane Nickerson soon!