Monday, July 21, 2014

The Mirk and Midnight Hour


Today’s post is on The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson. It is 371 pages long and is published by Knopf. The cover is a picture of twilight with a girl in the center walking towards the sun. It is a standalone novel and is a retelling of the Ballad of Tam Lin. There is no strong language, no sex, and violence is only talked about it does not happen on page. The intended reader is young adult and adults. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the dust jacket-Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancy is left at home in Mississippi while her father fights in the war against the North- a war that has already claimed her twin brother. Grieving and adjusting to life with a new family- a love-crazed stepsister, laudanum-addicted stepmother, and two cousins she doesn’t quite know how to handle- Violet feels like a stranger on Scuppernong Farm.
When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned, vine-shrouded lodge, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy- one of the men who might have killed her own brother- and yet she’s drawn to him; their time together, deep in the wild forest, feels enchanted.
But there’s an uneasiness, too: Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor. Someone has been tending to his wounds- keeping him alive- and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and the ominous powers of voodoo, Violet fights to protect her home, her family, and the mane she’s begun to love.
Review- This was an excellent retelling of the Ballad of Tam Lin. With the strangeness of the VanZelts as the Fair Folk, Violet’s own sense and feelings, and the other subplots going in the background there is a lot to like about this book. The Civil War is just backdrop to get the story going but I liked that. The VanZelts were the best thing about this story. They are mysterious, callous, but not unkind. They are just very different from the real humans in the story. They are described as ‘People Things’ and I thought that was one the best describers in the book. The mixing of old religion and magic was just right. Violet is a good heroine. Just the right amount of bravery, luck, and love. The side characters are very interesting and they are the ones who question what is right and why something is wrong. Violet has two cousins staying with her one is just visiting and other is a young child who is going to stay as long as the war lasts. Dorian is just visiting but he is the really villain not the VanZelts. The VanZelts like the Fair Folk do think that they are doing wrong because  they are just following their ways but Dorian is doing evil just because he wants to do. I enjoyed the comparison between the two. I recommend this book.
I give this book Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.