Book Tour Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Friday, March 6, 2015
Title: Mist of Midnight
Author: Sandra Byrd
Genre: historical, gothic, mystery
Series: Daughters of Hampshire #1
Pages: 384
Published: March 10 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 4/5

Intriguing secondary characters and lush scenery contribute to the often sinister, even creepy, moments readers will come to anticipate. Infusing her story with mystery, tension, and emotion, Byrd strikes a fine balance between the darkness of a Gothic mystery and the sweetness of a captivating love story. Byrd—and Brontë—fans will enjoy.
Publisher's Weekly

In the first of a brand new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her… and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives–does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, would she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

Sandra Byrd has quickly become an auto-buy author for me; it took less than four novels before I knew I had found a new favorite. I was a big, enthusiastic fan of her Tudor-era historical series from a few years ago and her newest foray into historical gothic mysteries is unexpected but just as detailed, rich, and compelling as her other novels. Mist of Midnight is eerie, intriguing, and full of atmosphere. It's half gothic mystery and half romance, but Byrd brings it all together so well. The characters jump from the page, are well-rounded and rendered and further make reading the first Daughters of Hampshire novel even better.

 Rebecca, the main character, is interesting, proactive, clever, and more. It's easy to invest in and care about her as she struggles to find her footing and prove who she is. She keeps from becoming a trope through her good heartedness, humor, and humanity. The mystery she unravels took a little too long for her to figure out completely, but then she was distracted by her counterpart and love interest, the dashing and mysterious Captain Luke Whitfield. The romance seems to be the driving focus for a large part of the novel, but it's so well developed into the novel that I didn't mind. The two complement and challenge each other exceedingly well for love interests.

When the mystery/gothic edge does start to emerge more in Mists of Midnight -- laudanum dosing, vague and creepy warnings, mysterious sightings, unsolved murder, the imposter's origins -- it plays well into the established story and the characters. There are certain roles to be played but Byrd takes the expected tropes and twists them into new forms. It never feels like another novel. There are homages and more to the genre, but the book is entirely Rebecca Ravenshaw's and no one else's. The atmosphere is also relentless and enveloping -- Sandra Byrd really knows how to make her fiction feel like reality.

 I am far from a religious person, but though Byrd writes Christian fiction, it feels natural for the story, the characters, and the narration. Mist of Midnight never preaches or makes the faith element seem too much. Faith is a known and expected part for these people in this time, and it never overwhelms or crosses into the "too much" territory. 

Another promising and well-written start to a historical new series, Sandra Byrd shows exactly why I rush out to buy her books with Mist of Midnight. Creative, engaging, romantic, and gothic, it's a book that does so many things so well. The characters are unpredictable and three dimensional, the writing is taut and atmospheric, and the mystery is twisty and  not too immediately solved. A good balance was struck and I can't wait to see how the series next novels compare.


  1. Thank you, Jessie, it is an absolute pleasure to read your reviews because they are so thoughtfully crafted. I appreciate the time you took to read and post! Happy weekend!!

  2. Great post and comments.

    I enjoyed Mist of Midnight too.

    Nice blog.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  3. This sounds like a Morgan book! I'm sorry to say I downloaded it on NetGalley and never got around to it but now I wish I did. Will have to search the library! Gothic novels are my favorite, especially ones you can dive into and invest in. Rebecca sounds like a wonderful main character. Thanks for the thoughtful review, you sold me on Mist of Midnight!


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