Book review: The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn

3 Jan

echo of twilightAs I watched him his long legs striding the narrow path through the heather, his golden hair catching the sun I had a hideous feeling in the pit of my stomach. For it seemed as though he was already marching away from me.

In 1914, despite the clouds of war threatening Europe, Pearl Gibson s future is bright. She has secured a position as a lady s maid to a wealthy Northumberland aristocrat, a job that will win her not only respect but an opportunity to travel and live in luxury. Her new life at Lady Ottoline Campbell s Scottish summer estate is a whirlwind of intrigue and glamour, scandals and confidences and surprisingly, a strange but intimate friendship with her employer.

But when violence erupts in Europe, Pearl and Ottoline s world is irrevocably changed. As the men in their lives are called to the front lines, leaving them behind to anxiously brace for bad news, Pearl realizes she must share one final secret with her mistress a secret that will bind them together forever..

What a wonderful way to start my new reading year, with a brilliant new novel from one of my favourite historical fiction authors. I read Judith Kinghorn’s debut, The Last Summer when it was released in 2012 and absolutely loved it but I have to say that The Echo of Twilight is in my opinion, Judith’s best book yet and a must read for fans of historical fiction set around the First World War.

The Echo of Twilight introduces us to Pearl Gibson, a young lady with a passion for life and a determination to make something of herself despite having no remaining family or place to call home. Pearl was raised by her beloved aunt Kitty and her devotion to her aunt’s teachings through the early parts of the novel often made me smile with many of the adages that Pearl lives by reminding me of the words that my Nan would say and that I still find myself thinking of now.

As we meet Pearl she is just about to take on a new job as lady’s maid to Lady Ottoline Campbell. I loved reading about Pearl’s role as lady’s maid and the detail that Judith includes in this book about life above and below stairs is just wonderful. I love to visit historic houses and in The Echo of Twilight Judith brings both Birling in Northumberland and the Scottish estate of Delnasay vividly to life and I very much enjoyed reading about the beautiful settings described.

Pearl’s character jumps off the page and I enjoyed reading as she developed. Pearl is a great mix of tenacity, bravery and naivety and I loved the glimpses of her sense of humour too. Ottoline and Pearl’s relationship quickly progresses to much more than just lady and maid and I was impressed by how believable this thread to the story was, particularly when set against the rapid changes in society brought about by war. Judith evoked the full range of emotions from me in this novel and as with The Last Summer captured the heartbreaking consequences of war in a very poignant way.

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, Pearl’s early days at Delnasay take on a romantic and almost ethereal quality as she is swept up into a new world with many new experiences, the biggest of which is first love. The Echo of Twilight is a very romantic novel despite Pearl being alone for the majority of the book and as I read I was holding my breath for a positive outcome. As the mysteries of Pearl’s past are uncovered and truths unveiled, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and as the story moves through the war and into its final part during the post-war years, I didn’t want to put this book down.

The Echo of Twilight has everything that I look for in an historical fiction read; a strong female heroine, mystery, romance and beautiful historical detail. Even though it’s only the third of January, Judith has set the bar high and I know I’ve already found one of my top historical reads for 2017!

5/5

The Echo of Twilight is released today (3rd January) by Berkley Publishing in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Judith Kinghorn for providing a review copy of this novel.

Find out more about Judith and her writing at: http://www.judithkinghornwriter.com/

2 Responses to “Book review: The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn”

  1. Kath 3rd January 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Such a great review, Amanda! Like you, I love Judith’s books and am really looking forward to reading this one. It sounds so very good.

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  1. Judith Kinghorn | The Echo of Twilight - 29th January 2017

    […] I read Judith Kinghorn’s debut, The Last Summer when it was released in 2012 and absolutely loved it but I have to say that The Echo of Twilight is in my opinion, Judith’s best book yet and a must read for fans of historical fiction set around the First World War.… I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Even though it’s only the third of January, Judith has set the bar high and I know I’ve already found one of my top historical reads for 2017! One More Page Blog (UK) […]

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