Hmm...so maybe it's because I'm a damn Yankee, but I don't think Jane Nickerson's southern gothic fairytale retellings are for me. Maybe some people like them, but I don't think I'm a fan.
The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a somewhat sequel to Strands of Bronze and Gold, but even though I hated the author's first novel I thought I would give her a second chance. Plus I've had the arc sitting on my shelf forever! This book is actually one of the one's I pledged to read for the Fairytale Challenge, but due to the historical context in it I'm also making it apart of my Historical Fiction February event. Who doesn't love killing two birds with one stone?
This novel is supposed to be a retelling of the Scottish Tam Lin myth. I'm not that familiar with the myth, but I don't understand why Nickerson would want to move it from Scotland to the American South during the Civil War. It's not really a time period I particularly care about, so that might be a major factor in why I wasn't a big fan of this novel.
Not liking the setting aside, the thing that really bothered me about this novel was that I felt like there was a lot of filler. I found the first 150 pages to be a little boring, similar to Strands of Bronze and Gold where there was just chapters and chapters of the main character doing nothing. The second novel wasn't as bad in this regard, but you didn't even meet the injured solider until after page 150. I really think about 100 pages should have been cut from this novel.
Another thing that bothered me was that it felt like the novel struggled to know the plot. I think the myth itself was bogged down by the family drama. Honestly it would have been a better book if the Sunny/Dorian subplot didn't exist. I think it would have been better if those characters didn't even exist and the plot focused more on the myth itself. For me it just felt like there was a lot of unnecessary subplots that didn't need to be in the book.
Okay, so it probably seems like I really hated this book, right? Well I didn't hate it as much as the author's first book, I thought it was okay but there were a lot of things I didn't like about it. I did like that Violet seemed like a well-rounded character with a good head on her shoulders. She really thought about things before she acted. I also really liked the relationship between her and her younger cousin Seeley. I also liked that she did question things about southern society and why they were fighting the war, without making her out to be a white savior. I kind of wished it had gone into that discourse more rather than dealing with the family drama.
So overall this book was just okay. I'm not going to go out of my way to recommend it, but I don't think it was completely terrible, I just think the plot was problematic.
What did you think of this book?
Happy Reads Everyone!