Through a Darkening Glass by RS Maxwell #RSMaxwell #ThriftyThursday @KindleUnlimited🎧 @sophiarose1816

Posted April 2, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 16 Comments

Through a Darkening Glass by RS Maxwell #RSMaxwell    #ThriftyThursday @KindleUnlimited🎧 @sophiarose1816Through a Darkening Glass by RS Maxwell
on January 1, 2023
Genres: Paranormal, Historical Mystery
Pages: 325
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A mesmerizing World War II mystery about a Londoner who flees the city to write a novel and finds a truth stranger than fiction.

England, 1940. Literature student Ruth Gladstone evacuates Cambridge University for Martynsborough, a tiny English village with a shadowy history. For Ruth, retreating to a forgotten corner of the country is more than a safety maneuver; it’s an opportunity to end an undesirable engagement and begin writing her first novel.

But upon her arrival, Ruth learns of a ghostly wraith haunting the villagers after decades of silence. Although Ruth is enthralled by the legend, the locals are less charmed by the wraith’s return. They blame the evacuees—and among them, Ruth—for stirring up restless spirits.

Undeterred, Ruth joins forces with Malcolm, an injured soldier, to unravel the mystery of the wraith. As Ruth and Malcolm draw closer to the truth, they’ll unearth long-buried secrets that could threaten them both…even as they craft a forbidden love story of their own.

WWII Britain on the Homefront is an intriguing setting for what seemed an atmospheric mystery involving a ghost, secrets, and forbidden love.  I was glad for the chance to pick up this historical mystery by a new to me author and was prepared for a few chills and thrills.

The prologue introduces a curious and enticing scene from 1910 that was filled with a palpable ambience.  Next, the historical setting jumps to 1940 Cambridge where young Ruth Gladstone is studying literature, consternated by a situation involving an unwanted fiancé, and just a tad bit worried about the war going on when an unexploded bomb in her dormitory courtyard forces her to sleep on the couch of a grad assistant who isn’t thrilled at first and then Ruth seizes this opportunity to traipse to a little known northern village where her gran’s planning to stay with Aunt Vera.

Ruth is prepared to work on her big novel while hiding from Warren her fiancé, ahem, that is ruralizing and visiting with the great aunt she never knew about.  But the village is teaming with mysteries and interesting situations from the white ghostly wraith, to odd thefts, a missing evacuee boy, an unsettling estate, and the traumatized wife of her neighbor who may or may not be all that she seems.  Then there’s the too comfortable friendship and something more with Malcolm, an injured war vet.

Through a Darkening Glass had me thinking it was one thing when it started with that creepy opening scene, but then settled into something else altogether.  I had to get adjusted to not just a different tone and pace, but a different genre.  I will take some of the blame when it comes to expecting a ghost story as the focus when it was more a historical fiction with interesting suspense plot threads.

It’s the life of a small village and its secrets bought to the surface by a curious young woman as the catalyst.  So, it was slow going and I struggled with the heroine.  Ruth needed to grow a backbone and have a straight up conversation with her unwanted fiancé and she tended to leap to conclusions and get snoopy with her curiosity into other’s business in the manner of a pushy tabloid journalist.  After the half-way mark, things picked up as Ruth and Malcolm’s sleuthing did start to bring out the answers to little mysteries and there was a growing cast of colorful side characters led by the intrepid and incorrigible geologist, Maude.

Many times the writing style kept the reader at a distance from the parts of the story that could have been dramatic or emotionally engaging by having things told by someone second hand or in a letter.  So, there was a lot of potential spikes in this plot that went from vastly intriguing to moderately good.

I did end up invested in the outcome for all the players and was glad for the way things ended for several of the characters.  There is romance in an unconventional way for that time period, but I think I would lead other readers to see this as more historical fiction since the romance isn’t the main focus- just one of them.  Though I have mixed feelings about it and some of that because of my pre-read expectations, I do recommend it to historical fiction fans who like a bit of suspense at the heart of things.  And, is there a wraith?  I’ll let you wonder about that.


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Posted April 2, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 16 Comments

16 responses to “Through a Darkening Glass by RS Maxwell

  1. Writing style that leaves doesn’t engage can really impact the enjoyment. I’m currently reading a cozy mystery with writing issues and I keep going back and forth on what I’ll eventually rate it because parts are interesting. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one overall.

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