Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mist of Midnight Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway!

Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Howard Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 384

Series: Daughters of Hampshire

Genre: Historical/Christian/Romance


In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her…and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives—does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, will she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I became a huge fan of Sandra Byrd after reading her delicious Tudor Ladies in Waiting series (click on the titles to read my reviews of  To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr and Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I ) and therefore snatched up this newest novel of hers, the first in a new series set in Victorian England, as soon as I got the chance. While this novel has a very different feel from those mentioned above it was still as engrossing as its predecessors.

When Rebecca Ravenshaw steps off the boat from India she is seeking nothing more than some warmth, peace and serenity in a place she belongs after the painful and frightening ordeal of losing her family. Much to her dismay she finds none of that when she arrives at her ancestral home, Headbourne House, and instead is confronted with confusion and suspicion that she is an imposter, come to try and steal the home and fortune of the Ravenshaws from Captain Luke Whitfield, the closest relative now that the young woman who previously claimed to be Rebecca Ravenshaw died mysteriously. The whole community - from Captain Whitfield to the staff of Headbourne House to the local gentry - treat her coldly and make it quite clear they do  not believe her story. But Rebecca is determined to prove that she is who she states she is and that Headbourne House is by rights hers. Alone in a country where no one knows her and most think she is trying to commit a heinous crime, this proves a difficult task, one potentially fraught with danger.

Rebecca is quite a character. Having gone through so much and still recovering from not only the  physical wounds remaining from her dangerous escape from the Indian Mutiny but the mental ones that plague her, she nevertheless refuses to give up proving her claim, even when almost everything about her points towards her being an imposter. I love how the author used the fact that she was raised in India and therefore does not know all of the English customs that would prove she is an English lady (the ability to play the piano, the delicate rules of protocol for visiting other ladies and having them come to you, etc.) as well as her continued recovery that further complicates her proof of identity (after an accident during her escape she is terrified to ride horses, something every fine English woman should do) as the catalyst that keeps everyone suspicious of her motives and the resolution of determining her true identity deliciously up in the air. I have to admit I had my own suspicions about her as there were instances when she saw things that didn't make sense or was told she had been in places or did something she had no recollection of. I loved that feeling of "is she going mad? Is she who she says she is?" and it really kept me turning the pages to find out.

Our Rebecca isn't the only suspicious character in this novel, however. In fact just about every single character makes you wonder about their motivations. Everyone around Rebecca has an air of doubt hanging over them but, at the same time, they all seems to also do things that make them seem trustworthy. It left me continually questioning what really happened at Headbourne House when the other woman claiming to be Rebecca showed up and then mysteriously died, who could be trusted and what dangers Rebecca might be facing whether or not she is proven to be the true Rebecca. This Gothic mystery element was my absolute favorite part of the novel.

The backdrop against which these characters revolved was so well described that it nearly became its own character. Headbourne house is delightfully crumbling, having dark passages with locked doors, a derelict chapel and a cemetery covered with bramble and mist that can't help but illicit a shiver. The surrounding countryside and the towns visited are just as well drawn and it was impossible not to become ensconced in this world.

Something to be noted for other readers is the fact that there is quite a lot of discussion about scripture and religion, something that fit in nicely given the fact that Rebecca's parents were missionaries but that some might not be expecting in a typical Victorian gothic novel. This element never veers into the "preachy" zone, which I appreciated, but there is an incident towards the end involving Rebecca's chaperone, Mrs. Ross, that I didn't really think necessarily fit in with the rest of the story. However, after reading the very informative author note at the end of the book and discovering that this incident is based on the author's actual experiences I can see why it was included. Something else to just be noted is that this is definitely a romance novel, with Rebecca and Captain Luke trying to overcome their concerns about the other person and their motives and dancing that delicate dance between giving in to their feelings and maintaining the expected propriety of the times.  These two elements - the religious discussion and the romance - slightly pulled me out of that foreboding mystery feeling I love about gothic novels but do have their importance in the story arc as well, especially the religious element as at times this deep belief within Rebecca is the only thing that seems to keep her level headed and from completely going mad. And without the romance between these two characters I wouldn't have been completely satisfied with the stories eventual outcome.

Mist of Midnight was a very satisfying read and firmly upholds Sandra Byrd's place on my "must read" shelf whenever she has a new historical novel coming out. I very much look forward to the remaining novels in this Daughters of Hampshire series!

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I love it! The darker colors and hazy atmosphere give that foreboding feeling I mentioned loving above and the woman in mourning black is somewhat of a mystery and could be either our Rebecca or the Rebecca who showed up to Headbourne House previously. It's perfect for the story.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Mist of Midnight in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book, the rest of the blog tour and how to win a beautiful lace bookmark!

Praise for Mist of Midnight

“Intriguing secondary characters and lush scenery contribute to the often sinister, even creepy, moments readers will come to anticipate. Infusing her story with mystery, tension, and emotion, Byrd (To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn) strikes a fine balance between the darkness of a Gothic mystery and the sweetness of a captivating love story. Byrd—and Brontë—fans will enjoy this first of the new Daughters of Hampshire series.”  - Publisher's Weekly

“A marvelous mingling of mystery and deeply moving family and romantic love, Mist of Midnight kept me guessing until the very end. A house on a cliff, a Victorian-Gothic atmosphere, a cast of suspicious characters including a dark, brooding hero and a strong heroine: shades (or mists) of Jane Eyre and Rebecca! I look forward to the next novel in this compelling new series.” - Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning

“Mist of Midnight is wonderfully atmospheric, with all the right elements for a true Gothic novel, from sounds that go bump in the night to characters who are not at all what they seem. The spiritual underpinning is solid, comforting, even as we’re trapped in the author’s finely spun web of mystery, romance, and a sense of foreboding that doesn’t lift until the final page. Charlotte Brontë? Victoria Holt? Meet Sandra Byrd, the modern mistress of Gothic romance!” - Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night

“Among the many things I love about reading a Sandra Byrd novel is knowing that her words will transport me to another place and time, that she will win me over with intriguing and complex characters, and that I’ll savor every word. Mist of Midnight is no exception. I loved this book! Sandra Byrd could belong to the writing group of the Bronte sisters if they’d had one. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre along with crumbling mansions, mysterious distant cousins, and one woman’s journey to prove who she really is are just few layers that ripple through the mists. Bravo, Sandra! Another winner.” - Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of A Light in the Wilderness

“Richly written and multi-layered, Mist of Midnight blends traditional England and exotic India in a historical feat worthy of Victoria Holt. Breathless danger, romance, and intrigue made this series opener by the ultra-talented Sandra Byrd a compelling must-read!” - Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning

“Once again, Sandra Byrd delivers a richly layered story that will leave you eagerly awaiting the next book in this brand-new series. Mist of Midnight has it all: intriguing and memorable characters—including a central female protagonist who is both complex and inspiring—a plot chock-full of mystery and suspense, and a Victorian gothic setting, impeccably researched and artfully and evocatively relayed. Prepare to be transported!” - Karen Halvorsen Schreck, author of Sing For Me

“Mist of Midnight is a beautiful, haunting tale. Sandra Byrd masterfully weaves together both romance and suspense among a cast of mysterious characters. I was immediately swept into the wonder of this story, and I loved unraveling all the secrets and discovering exactly what happened at the old Headbourne House.” - Melanie Dobson, author of Chateau of Secrets and The Courier of Caswell Hall

“Sandra Byrd’s trademark attention to historical accuracy combines with an eerily building intrigue to envelope readers in a sense of dark foreboding that hinges precariously between hope and desperation. Mist of Midnight is a subtly haunting, beautifully atmospheric, and decadently romantic Victorian tale that will find a comfortable home among the best Gothic romances of days gone by.” - Serena Chase, author of The Ryn and contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog

“Not since Jane Eyre have I read a Gothic romance that has captured my heart so completely. From the exotic India to an English estate shrouded in mystery, Byrd’s eye for detail shines through on every page. Romance lovers are sure to devour the tale of Rebecca Ravenshaw and her search for the truth behind the mysteries of Headbourne House and the handsome young captain who lives on the estate.” - Renee Chaw, reviewer at Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot

“From the first word to the last, Mist of Midnight is a completely absorbing romantic, and mysterious, novel. Ms. Byrd’s writing is splendid, and her characters are so complex and endearing that they leap off the pages. I couldn’t put it down. An absolutely irresistible read!” - Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso

Pre-Order the Book

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About the Author

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of
Elizabeth I published in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens including the Secret Sisters Series, London Confidential Series and a devotional for tweens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has published many nonfiction articles and books. She is passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype. You can also connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.



To win a lace bookmark like the one above please fill out the form HERE.
Please note that the mandatory entry requires you to leave a comment below. If you do not leave a comment and then enter your name and email on the form you will not be entered. All other entries are optional.
I will pick a winner on March 12th and email the winner for their mailing address. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before I have to pick another winner.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Giveaway is open to US and CAN residents.
Only one entry per household.

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog
/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
Good luck!

Mist of Midnight Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, March 2

Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, March 3

Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, March 4

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 5

Review at Reading the Past
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, March 6

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, March 9

Review & Giveaway at Historical Readings & Views

Tuesday, March 10

Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, March 11

Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, March 12

Review at Book Drunkard
Spotlight at Books and Benches

Friday, March 13

Review & Giveaway at Forever Ashley

Monday, March 16

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 17

Review at Layered Pages

Wednesday, March 18

Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Thursday, March 19

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 20

Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books




  1. Your review was fabulous as is this fascinating and captivating novel. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thank you so much, traveler!!! If you get the chance to read the novel I hope you love it. And good luck in the giveaway!

  2. Fantastic review, Colleen.

    I love how you compared Headbourne House to its own character. Terrific thinking and so very true.

    Thanks for stopping by my review of this book. I also enjoyed this book.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! If an author can make an object nearly have its own voice then I am hooked...that is some powerful storytelling! Thank you for stopping by my review too :)!

    2. Ms. Byrd did an excellent job on doing that. :)

  3. Thank you so much, Colleen! I'm v glad you have your own book blog now, too. I truly appreciate the time you take to read and then craft a thoughtful review. Have a wonderful weekend!!

    1. Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words Sandra! And of course for crafting such captivating novels that I just cannot resist!!

  4. Winner of the beautiful bookmark is....traveler!!! Congratulations traveler!