03 May, 2016

The darkest hour by Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine had huge success with her 1986 novel Lady of Hay so comparisons are always going to be made to it for any later stories. The darkest hour still has the supernatural aspects, but instead of being set in ancient times, covers an era that is still fresh in the minds of many.

It was fitting that I finished this book on ANZAC Day when we commemorate those that have served in wars. Set around a British airbase in WWII and simultaneously seventy years later, it portrays some of the difficulties and experiences of servicemen and civilians in wartime.

The plot revolves around Lucy, a widow who is writing a biography of Evelyn Lucas, a renowned wartime painter. Evie’s grandson Michael has agreed to help Lucy by providing access to Evie’s studio and papers. Unknown to him, Lucy owns a painting that she believes was one of Evie’s.

As Lucy becomes involved in researching Evie’s life a number of unusual things happen around the painting and it appears that supernatural forces are in place. She realises that as well as people in the present day trying to stop her discovering what happened seventy years ago, there are some from the past who are reaching forward to warn her off.

I always enjoy stories where the past and the present merge and got engrossed in this tale. Historical detail is where Erskine excels so I found the parts about the airbase and the flyers very interesting and it gave me some understanding of the era. A large cast of characters, good and bad, make a good mix and all have a part to play in reconciling the past with the present.

Title: The darkest hour
Author: Barbara Erskine

Reviewed by Kathy N, Collections Development

Kathy N can’t sleep unless she has read a bit before turning the light off. As well as most fiction, she enjoys craft and lifestyle books to get project ideas for her rural home. She spends most of her working day buying books for Auckland Libraries.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kia ora! Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions below.