Thursday 18 March 2021

Book Review: The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood

The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood book cover

AD* | 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, 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 decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

Dark, atmospheric, and deliciously Gothic, The Shadow in the Glass is a brilliant new fairytale retelling.

It combines the best of historical fiction and fairytale fantasy, weaving an exciting tale filled with suspense. With twists and turns a-plenty, this is a well-written Young Adult story.

The main character is a young woman named Eleanor (nicknamed Ella). She is a maid in her guardian's household, demoted from a respectable young lady when her stepmother passed away. Eleanor is determined to return to her rightful place in society, and when a mysterious lady offers her seven wishes - in exchange for her soul - Eleanor jumps at the chance to improve her fortunes. 

As the book progresses, Eleanor becomes more and more embroiled in a web of her own making. Her life spirals increasingly out of control and she is forced to go to desperate lengths to obtain her heart's desires.

The book is well-paced but it picks up towards the end as it progresses towards its conclusion. Eleanor is a complex and flawed character, yet she is also relatable and has some important redeeming qualities. She is a good friend, protective and loyal to those she cares about. She is driven and determined - and while this is problematic, she knows what she wants and she isn't afraid to go for it.

It's clear that the author has done plenty of research into the historical period where this book is set. So many little details are included that really paint a lifelike picture of what life was like in London at this time. Dirty, noisy, and crowded, yet with unique individuality and character. This really brings the story to life and adds to the rich atmosphere.

I loved this book and I look forward to reading more from the author in the future! 

Rating: 5 stars

The Shadow in the Glass is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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