The Shadow Hour

At the heart of The Shadow Hour is a tragic train crash. From this terrible day in 1910, an intricately woven story radiates out – backwards to the 1870s and Harriet’s story of revenge and seduction as a young governess, and forwards to the 1920s, when she persuades her granddaughter Grace to leave home and take up where Harriet left off 44 years earlier

1878
Harriet has always had what she calls ‘the Glimmers’ – fragmented visions that can come upon her at any moment; erratic, unpredictable, but without doubt psychic. Left penniless and bereft after her father’s death, she travels to Fenix House in the Cotswolds, home of the wealthy Pembridge family, resigned to take up her new position as their governess. But when she discovers she has been employed by the daughter of her father’s sworn enemy, she cannot help but see it as an opportunity, moreover a sign, to take revenge. She embarks on a dangerous relationship with her mistress’ husband, Robert Pembridge.

But revenge is not simple. Harriet finds herself entwined in a web of unexpected feelings, family secrets and eventually murder and, in the aftermath, is forced to flee Fenix House traumatised, pregnant and alone again. But not before attempting to warn Robert of what she has seen, a Glimmer of his favourite child killed in a tragic accident.

1922
Grace, a young woman orphaned at an early age, has been raised solely by her grandmother Harriet. Accustomed to her grandmother’s possessiveness and overprotection, Grace is hurt and confused when Harriet coerces her into applying for a position as governess and nurse to the same family she has heard about in stories since childhood. When she gets to Fenix House, she finds the place dilapidated and the family devastated, torn apart by loss and tragedy. As she gets to know the Pembridge family, the more holes she finds in the stories her grandmother has told her about them. Feeling betrayed, she takes her first steps of independence, and stops replying to her grandmother’s letters.

As she begins to forge relationships with the Pembridges – from her young charge Lucas to his bad-tempered widower father, David – Grace slowly discovers that she too is tied to the history of Fenix House, to the accident, and to the Pembridge family themselves… Although reluctant to turn to her grandmother, Grace realises that she might be the only one with all the answers.

Birds

shadow hour