Thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour. Thank you to Harper Voyager for a copy of the book to read and review.
A new dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop full of lace and smoke- perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.
Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. 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, while among her beloved books, 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 decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay…
Melding history and fairy tale, this is a dark and intelligent new take on the story of Cinderella that looks at women, the price of labour and the cost of hope.
Having seen love for this new book from Dan Bassett, the Waterstones reviewer, and having recently enjoyed the latest Laura Purcell novel, I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book.
Initially I felt very sad for Ella, it reminded me of the sadness I felt for Sara Crewe when reading the Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Ella had been a ward of Mrs Pembroke and had been given the opportunity to become socially mobile, to leave behind poverty and become a lady. But then her ward had died, she was relegated to a domestic servant and had to keep away from the unwanted attentions of Mr Pembroke.
Ella loved reading and would escape to the library at night to escape from the real world into a book (as many readers are doing at the moment, in the middle of a global pandemic). However, one night a twisted version of the Fairy Godmother appears and offers her the opportunity to make seven wishes, with the understanding that on the granting of the seventh wish, her soul will belong to the Godmother.
Ella now has the opportunity to improve the lives of her friends and herself, but what are the wishes she will choose and how will she deal with the consequences? The story becomes even darker and I found myself wondering if Ella still deserved sympathy.
I enjoyed the writing of this book, there is a rollercoaster of a journey for Ella and the other residents of the house as Ella starts to make her wishes. If you enjoy twisted fairy tales and Victorian Gothic novels, then I’m happy to recommend this book to you.
JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields. When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats.
THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS is her debut novel.