Tuesday 6 November 2018

Book Review: The Turn of Midnight (Black Death #2) by Minette Walters (Historical Fiction)

Title: The Turn of Midnight (Black Death #2)
Author: Minette Walters
Allen and Unwin

Publication Date: 1 November 2018
Historical Fiction
Print ARC from Publisher

As the year 1349 approaches, the Black Death continues its devastating course across England. In Dorseteshire, the quarantined people of Develish question whether they are the only survivors.

Guided by their beloved young mistress, Lady Anne, they wait, knowing that when their dwindling stores are finally gone they will have no choice but to leave. But where will they find safety in the desolate wasteland outside?

One man has the courage to find out.

Thaddeus Thurkell, a free-thinking, educated serf, strikes out in search of supplies and news. A compelling leader, he and his companions quickly throw off the shackles of serfdom and set their minds to ensuring Develish's future - and freedom for its people.

But what use is freedom that cannot be gained lawfully? When Lady Anne and Thaddeus conceive an audacious plan to secure her people's independence, neither foresees the life-threatening struggle over power, money and religion that follows...

I came to The Turn of Midnight not having read the first book in the series. I had been told that wouldn't be a problem, and for the most part it wasn't, thanks to the handy character profiles in the front matter, which got me up to date on who everyone was and what had happened to them in the last book. I think not having read The Last Hours meant it took me longer to get into the story, while I got my head around what was happening, but within a few chapters I was hooked, anyway. I enjoyed the premise of the story, and came to love the characters, especially Lady Anne and Thaddeus Thurkell (How awesome is that name!), and I found the book beautifully paced, with enough tension to keep me turning the page, wanting to know what would happen next. This was particularly true as we drew towards the denouement. I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction; though I would suggest starting with book one to get the best experience.

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