by Pamela Hartshorne
Having already read four of her other books, I was pretty sure what to expect from this one, and I wasn’t disappointed. It has all Pamela’s trademarks of historical accuracy, compelling characters, dark mystery and unexplained bumps in the night.
Set in historic York, The Memory of Midnight is the story of two mothers who do whatever they must to protect their children.
Both find themselves stuck in abusive marriages; both find hope in the return of a former lover; both live in fear. What separates these women is four-and-a-half centuries.
Nell lives in Elizabethan York. She loves her best friend Tom, but circumstances result in her being forced to marry his sadistic brother Ralph. For Nell, the abuse is physical and emotional as Ralph feeds off her fear and her pain. Will Tom’s return to York offer her the chance to escape and save her daughter from a similar fate?
Recently returned to York, Tess is escaping her husband’s controlling and abusive ways. Whilst Martin has never been physically violent, her fear of his anger is just as strong. As Tess tried to rebuild her life and get back her independence, the past and present begin to clash as she finds herself reliving the key moments in Nell’s life. She remembers being trapped in a wooden chest, the fear and pain of her wedding night, the trauma of childbirth and the devastation of losing her baby son. As she tries to make sense of these memories and the physical marks they leave, she also finds herself having to deal with her husband’s mind games as he tries to force her to return to London.
Tess also has to deal with her feelings towards Luke, her first love who has himself recently returned to their home town.
Both Tess and Nell find themselves betrayed by those they thought they could trust, but both find strength in the love they have for their children and Tom and Luke.
The story is dark and unrelenting with plenty of twists and surprises along the way. A great ready that once again proves that Pamela Hartshorne is one of the best at what she does. Her passion for the Elizabethan period, and York in particular, is obvious and helps to drive the narrative and characters she has created.