Blog Tour | “Mist of Midnight” {Book 1: Daughters of Hampshire} by Sandra Byrd

Posted Thursday, 5 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was contacted by the author’s (Sandra Byrd) CBA Tour Coordinator (Renee Chaw) back in November, 2014 about the possibility of receiving “Mist of Midnight” in exchange for an honest review which would be included on Ms Byrd’s official blog tour for it’s March release! I was beyond delighted at having been approached by her and readily agreed. As I have a non-giveaway policy for Jorie Loves A Story, this blog tour stop is not hosting the tour giveaway, but rather is solely a book review of the novel which is posted whilst the official tour is going on. I received my complimentary ARC copy of Mist of Midnight direct from Howard Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. In December 2014, I received the press materials from her publicist Ms Chaw. I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity, not only to read my first novel by Ms Byrd but to host my first blog tour book review for Howard Books! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

I unequivocally can declare when it comes to Gothic Lit & the Historical Fiction side of literature, I am unabashedly intrigued by each new story and author I stumble across! Imagine my good cheer in finding an author had found me for her blog tour? I hadn’t realised it at the time, but Ms Byrd has been on my TBR for awhile now, as I had to remind myself I had spied her Ladies in Waiting series previously!

When it comes to Gothic Lit, the reason I am caught instinctively inside the pages of stories which befall this category is because I have a passionate affection for ‘psychological suspense’ and most of what I enjoy reading within this realm of plausibility curates this experience for me! I have a penchant for the Victorian era of which I believe might be deduced by my literary wanderings time after time; however, it’s this wicked joy I have bubbling up inside me when I know I am about to plunder inside an enriched atmospheric novel I find the most inspiring! As well noted by now throughout my blog, I’m a hybrid reader (dancing through genres of literature between mainstream & INSPY markets) and I cannot even properly express how wicked happy I was to discover Mist of Midnight!

I have recently read a re-telling of Jane Eyre, entitled: Keeping Kate on behalf of a blog tour for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media; this on the footheels of having learnt there was a readalong for Jane Eyre! Mind you, my unhealthy time consumption in February solely focused on technical malfunctions and ISP unknown tech issues caused my blogging life to be put on hold for most of the month; notwithstanding, I simply lost too many hours within my personal life outside of this blog to soak inside even one book more than I managed to feature within the month just extinguished from view. I still fully intend to read Jane Eyre and go back through the readalong posts, however, sadly it was ill-fated for me to participate as a whole. Thrice this has happened to me, where I had sought out a RAL for Charlotte Bronté’s classic tale, yet it did not stop me from absorbing myself straight into Keeping Kate!

Bringing me round to what I wanted to share, as I have slated in my mind and gathered a bit of my intentions of what to read next on my tCC List in direct reflection to this curiously addictive focus I have on Gothic Lit! What comes to mind after I muse about Eyre, is how in earnest I attempted to borrow and consume the narrative within the pages of The Distant Hours by Kate Morton or even The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates; two novels continuously whetting my palette with hearty intrigue.

Now when it comes to ‘inheritance stories’ I must confess, I have a particular interest in them because they bring a swirl of excitement to central focus within the heart of where the story leads us to go as the lead character is nearly always at odds in these situations with an interloper! Someone who either has a hardened heart turnt black and whose ill will seeks to cause them extreme duress if not personal harm, has a shadowy allure to soak into your imagination due to the very nature of what pulls this context forward! You start to gather the facts inside your own mind, weigh and counterbalance what is perceived against what is known (as so oft-times the writer holds the reader in the dark and/or gives only ‘just so’ much information to leave the climax plausibly aloof) and hold a firm grasp on your emotional heart as the drama surrounding the entire tale will leave you up late into the night wicking at the flames of a candle!

Yes, I must confess, when it comes to seeking stories — the ones of which give me a hitch of wicked joy are the ones shrouded in suspense with the framework of a relationship that may or may not yield in romantic overtures. The mystery itself is well worth the wait to see how everything unfolds! With haste and felicity, I took up the pages of Mist of Midnight! Top cheers to Ms Byrd for allowing us the grace of seeing this is only one installment of a new series yet to bewitch us wholly and true!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Blog Tour | “Mist of Midnight” {Book 1: Daughters of Hampshire} by Sandra ByrdMist of Midnight

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.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Daughters of Hampshire,

on 10th March, 2015

Pages: 384

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Howard Books (@Howard_Books)
(an imprint of Simon & Schuster: )

Available Formats:  Hardback & E-Book

Converse on Twitter: #MistOFMidnight

About Sandra Byrd

Sandra Byrd is a best-selling author and has earned Library Journal's Best Books of the year pick twice, in 2011 for To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, and in 2012 for The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr. She's twice been a Christy Award finalist, for To Die For and for Let Them Eat Cake: A Novel. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I published April 2013

A poem and a haunting premise by half:

I was not expecting to be greeted by a quotation from Paradise Lost by Milton, as he is one of the poets I have never had the pleasure of becoming introduced too. I leverage by the time I can unearth the poets I do have in my library, I will start to wiggle out a footpath back into poetry, where I can lay heart and head on the words of the poems long since beloved by other readers. I find poetry to have it’s own pulse-point of a story’s arc, as poems can curate emotion and action out of the most simplified styling of word fusion. This particular quotation does not disappoint, as it eludes to what I wrote about prior to picking up the novel itself!

Milton sets the tone,
Byrd entices you with her poetic prose;
thus enfold.

Spoken as if half bent towards a grave, her sorrowful mourn clouding her outlook as her reality was wretched out from the normalcy she had carved into her time in India; a bare whisper of a voice culls you into Mist of Midnight as if her voice is as faint as the mist itself. Broken in spirit, commanded by faith and outright will to survive despite the anguish of loss, our young protagonist is greeted on the page with empathy for the injustices she’s witnessed and endured. You cannot help but commend Byrd for this entrance on Rebecca’s behalf, as the setting and tone is evermore inflicting of Rebecca’s emotional state as she voyaged home. Rather the voyage was meant to take her home, but home was a fragmented memory cast aside by murder and rage.

My Review for Mist of Midnight:

Hollowed out by the raw emotions only an anguished sudden loss can leave a person as a shell of their former selves, Rebecca Ravenshaw is fortified by her faith and the love she has etched into her bones from her parents, who uplifted her with a grace and strength untouchable by the cruelty of suspicion. Torn and betwixt where she fits within the world she’s been left, her arrival ‘home’ to a faded memory of a place whose grandeur has left it nearly in ruins, puts haste to her resolve to overcome this needling of enquiry which seeks only to falsify her own living truth rather than give her a sheltering security in the wake of hopelessness.

Headbourne House is evocative of the estates I love to see spark to life inside a Gothic Lit Historical! A bit tedious to paint it’s personality justly yet Byrd has captured Headbourne House with an intriguing beguiling edge where it takes a foreboding presence and turnt it into a labyrinth of mysterious occurrences laid thick with grounds you could disappear inside without time being reflective in your hours. The current tenant is a Captain Whitfield, a bloke certainly raised on humility in combination with chivalry yet you gather a proper sense he is not entirely being truthful about his station nor his position at Ms Ravenshaw’s ancestral home. Something did not quite settle right in my mind as he was introduced, as if Byrd wanted us to pick up on a seed of deceit in the beginning, that may or may not yield to nefarious results. A tip-off on his character to signal a deepening of how thickly wrought the plot and the circumstances Ms Ravenshaw has befallen herself into grows evermore complicated.

The townespeople play their part as all good secondary cast members would on screen, properly (by appearances) aghast at the news of a ‘mistaken identity unfound to be true thus far’ and giving Rebecca a bit of a tiresome chore of self-reminders she is the one who knows her truth, even if the entirety of her neighbours do naught. I appreciated seeing her innermost thoughts being shared in italics and how her rock of faith intermingled with reminiscences of her mother’s soothing advice. She’s anchoured through her parent’s abiding love, even when the tides of doubt start to wash through her as how do you prove what is not easily proven? What does it take to prove the identity of who you are when there is no record or data to clear your name? This novel takes on a heady thematic to give you a pensive re-prose as you read.

Rebecca Ravenshaw is an intuitive spirit with a sharp mind and a spitfire tongue if she feels injured by a party who elects to judge her rather than accept her at face value. You start to feel for both sides of the parties, but not quite as equal as you ought too, as let’s face it, from the moment I first cast eyes on the Prologue I felt captured by Rebecca’s plight and her earnest desire to right her sails on solid ground. When life throws you afield from everything you know and understand, which provided anchour, reason, and counsel; you start to feel yourself cast about without a rooting of your feet on solid ground. Drifting a bit with a weight you cannot shift and murmurings inside your spirit which quake through you and leave you remiss for calm.

I appreciated the discourse of conversation whilst Ms Ravenshaw first started to host her ‘visiting guests’ whereupon she had broached the topic into how her Mum had initiated a way for women in India to receive a living wage for honest work. This is a subject still emerging in our modern era, as I watched a documentary feature about how women around the world (representative of all nations) are uniting together to strengthen resources to women; whilst by doing so, re-establishing a structure of self-sufficiency enabling them to not only provide for their children, but for their families as a whole. It’s a powerful movement of grassroot chutzpah where communities are being turnt into strong micro producing areas for handmade goods which are then sold on the world’s market. In Mist of Midnight lace makers are introduced as a route towards this end goal. It was not lost on me where Ms Ravenshaw’s contemporaries back in England might take a more close-minded viewing of her life in India; including in her family’s outreach mission work.

My mind was peppered with imagery of Headbourne House whilst darting backwards into India, when Rebecca felt retrospective; both locales are equally representative, even though India is set against memory wherein Headbourne House is either prominently set in the background or foreground. Corridors masked from view, rooms unbeknownst to Rebecca and unable to pull the veils of what they might foretell of her current path towards re-identifying herself as the estate’s rightful heir. Suspense shrouds her heart as she purposefully approaches each new morn and nightfall with a hopefulness she doesn’t feel reflects inside her spirit. So many spindles of thread to unravell and find whose coattails of arms they attach themselves too; if only to resolve the angst of reproached judgement against any evidence still remaining of whom she is at her core.

The closer Ms Ravenshaw was coming-in towards providing evidential support of her claim, the tentacles of deceit started to encroach around her in a tight noose of jeopardising harm! There is a quickening within this story, a knowing you feel as if your own hackles (like her dearly beloved cat’s) are on high alert and sensing disease within her environ. She questions of whom to trust and of whom her trust out to be placed in order to wick away the darkening clouds engulfing her further away from her rightful path. Not to be in control of one’s future, but at the mercy of those round you of whom you are a mere acquaintance and thriceforth a stranger is a dicey situation to place oneself! I, too, would have blundered more than one interaction with these people; they spilt your nerves into such a frayed state, it’s hard to reckon how to maintain your sanity!

One lovely balm to her courage, was the fact fate had placed within her grasp a worthy case to place her attention: her beloved ancestral home, Headbourne House was in dire need to being loved. An enduring project by half and one to stretch her ability to find reverence inside the necessity to preserve it’s honour, I started to see a change within Rebecca; a strengthening. Everyone needs a reason to find self-worth, if not from within than from an outside endeavour to re-ignite a fire to funnel into a season of self-renewal. Headbourne House instilled this longing of purpose and gave her a place where roots could tether deep and withstand a monsoon.

Love and trust, however, take a different kind of tending within the garden of life. In this vein, Byrd has a deft hand at guidance for her characters to walk in grace whilst trusting their instincts even if all else feels false. Byrd has a story-telling style enabling us to walk back in time as the canonicals of writers long since lived before us, intuitively gave us stories to draw a deeper connection too for their understanding of the scope of where story and heart can interweave. The language is poetic, the setting hauntingly beguiling, and yet the underscored depth to this novel enlarges your mind’s capacity for celebrating the story-tellers who grant us the very mirth of where words and lives can effectively transform our own souls through their stories. Picking up Mist of Midnight is to entreat into a world not far removed from ours with a foresight of breadth only a wordsmith such as Byrd could have told.

On the Gothic writing style of Sandra Byrd:

I had noticed the quick-fire cross-references being mentioned throughout this blog tour on behalf of Mist of Midnight to lay a correlated thought of insight to the story if readers were familiar with Jane Eyre. I believe this is a bit of a misstep, as despite my fanciment for Gothic Lit intermixed into Historical Fiction, even I can appreciate how diversely eclectic and unique the offerings are within the genre-benders. It is a bit as to say that every Classic Psychological Suspense (i.e. Classic Horror) motion picture is going to be a cardinal carbon copy of the previous release. Although there are inherent similarities to Eyre or any novel within this subset of literature, there is a striking originality to Byrd’s narrative voice, and the way in which she stirs the setting to alight in your mind’s eye.

I did not hear any footfall or echo of Eyre’s voice in the character of Rebecca Ravenshaw, as instead, I heard Rebecca’s voice quite clearly on her own grounds. She’s a full-bodied character not a composite of a previous incarnation of a previous era’s most beloved heroine. The misstep for me is the presumption on what the story entails, as this isn’t a Governess tale, no, this is an inheritance and right of identity tale which pushes far past where Eyre ventured. Atmospherically I do agree, there are certain hidden clues and nudges to elude to where Eyre resided, but again, this isn’t a novel I’d cross-compare Byrd’s narrative, as it would deceive the readers who are wanting to soak inside it unless there is a definitive explanation about ‘what’ directly refers to setting and what is ‘different’ altogether in the story’s arc.

I found more crumbs of cognisant triggers of familiarity stemming out of Mists of Midnight to previous novels I’ve read by ChocLitUK and several via HFVBTs. More readily I would say the styling of how Bryd has writ her new series for the Daughters of Hampshire is a beautiful compliment to how ethereally and historically stimulating I’m finding the Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber. Wordsmiths who breathe a stability of place, time, character depth and arc of journey will always leave me perpetually museful for their discovery. Byrd is amongst my top favourites for giving us a story which transcends straight out of where we’ve planted our seat to hold the pages, which as they are turnt, lead us into the murky shadows of where truth and light are sometimes cast in gray.

Each Gothic Lit Historical Narrative is wholly original into itself, as the creator who inked the words alighted upon the premise by a different series of avenues before committing pen to creation. The die is cast so to speak with a uniqueness that is not quite like another story, but whose individual elements can bewitch you with their cosy comfortness of relating a particular sensory experience you had whilst reading other novels within the genre.

I only took sparse pauses away from this novel, as I have the tendency to want to devour a text such as this, save for slumber and a quick nosh; devouring it’s elegant world-building, as it’s secondary characters who alight on the page as if their histories were being writ as they lived. I love seeing secondary cast members as fully true in their bones as their lead counterparts. There is a realism in having this underwrit into a novel, and I must say, Byrd has excelled.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This book review is courtesy of the author: Sandra Byrd
I elected to post this review on my grandfather’s birthday, even though he has left me for more than a decade as he’s renewed in his own spirit at heaven’s gate. He had a passion for history and if he had lived long enough for me to unearth my dedication to historical fiction, I know this is one story we’d have spent hours speaking about, due to the visual palette left behind for me to find inside it. He loved stories and the craft behind their creation, in many ways, part of who I am is a reflection of his inspirations. My family is full of creatives who encouraged my own path to be taken based on where my own creativity inspired me to travel. Today, I honour his legacy as I entertain a first reading by a new author I must declare I have only ‘just begun’ to know!
I give my gratitude to Ms. Byrd & to Howard Books for allowing me the honour to be a stop on the “Mist of Midnight” blog tour! I was happily delighted I could participate! I hope I will be able to participate in future blog tours if the opportunity were to arise! Until then, please drop by my Bookish Events page to see what is coming up next!

**Please Note: This is a non-giveaway stop on the blog tour. I do not host giveaways or bookaways of any kind on Jorie Loves A Story (as you can read in my Review Policy). I agreed only to host a review stop whilst the tour was in-progress. Therefore, I do encourage you to leave me a comment but your stop on my review isn’t connected to the giveaway itself. Thank you for understanding!**

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Virtual Road Map of the “Mist of Midnight”

blog tour featuring more book reviews:

{ I found the individual book reviews for you to read }

Monday, February 16

Sandra Byrd’s “Mist of Midnight” A Gothic Victorian Treat (Book Review) –
(Notes in the Key of Life |

Blog Tour: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd. An excellent tale of loss, betrayal, and trusting as one woman tries to claim back her identity and heritage. (Inspire to

Mist of Midnight (Reading with

Tuesday, February 17

Blog Tour: Mist of Midnight: Daughters of Hampshire 1
(Tammy’s Book

 ‘Mist of Midnight’ by Sandra Byrd, romantic Gothic thriller to beguile readers
(Cindi Rose (book

Wednesday, February 18

Review: Mist of Midnight, Daughters of Hampshire, Book One by Sandra Byrd
(Impressions in Ink |

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd Blog Tour
(Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book

Thursday, February 19

Virtual Book Tour: Mist in Midnight by Sandra Byrd
(Romantic Historical

Friday, February 20

Book Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd
(English Epochs

Monday, February 23

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd Book Review
(Books &

Tuesday, February 24

Novel Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Wednesday, February 25

 Mist of Midnight Review
(Blooming with

Thursday, February 26

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd : Book Review

Friday, February 27

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd Review
(Labor Not In

Review of Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Saturday, February 28

Review: Mist of Midnight

Monday, March 2

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd: Book Review
(Live and Dream A Little

Mist of Midnight (More Than

Thursday, March 5

Jorie  – (
Visit my Story Vault to see other INSPY novels I have reviewed
and/or visit my personal challenge to read 70 INSPY Authors.

Forthcoming next on the blog tour:

Friday, March 6

(Edgy Inspirational

(Creative Madness

Saturday, March 7

(Lane Hill

Monday, March 9

(Blue Rose


Mist of Midnight Blog Tour via Renee Shaw & Sandra Byrd

There is a secondary blog tour running concurrent via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, which you might want to visit as well for more reader insight and book bloggers who love reading historical-based fiction as I am a hostess with HFVBTs myself and love following the tours even if I am not on them! You might even find interviews and/or author guest posts included as HFVBTs tend to feature these as well!

{SOURCES: Book Cover of “Mist of Midnight”, the blog tour badge, the Book Synopsis, Author Photograph of Sandra Byrd, the Author Biography were provided by Renee Chaw and used by permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets y were embeded due to codes provided by Twitter. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 5 March, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, British Literature, Castles & Estates, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Genre-bender, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Gothic Romance, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, India, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Literature of India, Lyrical Quotations, Military Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Singletons & Commitment, Suspense, the Victorian era, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, World Religions

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