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The Darkest Hour [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Erskine
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (431 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

From the Sunday Times bestselling author comes an epic tale of love, passion and heartbreak.

Love is as uncertain and as untameable as war…

In the summer of 1940, most eyes are focussed on the skies above the South of England. The battle for Britain has just begun. But young Evie Lucas has eyes for no-one but a dashing young pilot called Tony. Evie has a glittering career as an artist ahead of her but seems to be wasting her time sketching endless portraits of Tony. She wants his parents to have something to remember him by in case it all goes wrong in the war…

Seventy years later, and recently widowed art historian Lucy is trying to put the pieces of her life back together. And in order to do that, Lucy needs to uncover the mystery surrounding a painting in her home. But as she accidentally ends up stirring up a hornet’s nest of history which has been deliberately obliterated, Lucy finds herself in danger from people past and present who have no intention of letting an untold truth ever surface.

Product Description


Praise for Barbara Erskine:

‘Her forte is mood, atmosphere and the toe-curling frisson’ Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

‘Barbara Erskine’s storytelling talent is undeniable’ The Times‘

‘Marvellous escapist stuff’ Woman and Home

About the Author

A historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of many bestselling novels that demonstrate her interest in both history and the supernatural, plus three collections of short stories. Her books have appeared in at least twenty-six languages. Her first novel, Lady of Hay, has sold over two million copies worldwide. She lives with her family in an ancient manor house near Colchester and in a cottage near Hay-on-Wye.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2395 KB
  • Print Length: 561 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (3 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (431 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I haven't read Barbara Erskine for a long time, not since 'Lady of Hay', and I'm happy to say I enjoyed 'The Darkest Hour' and found it a very good read.

Lead character, Lucy, is recently widowed when she suddenly receives news that some money is coming her way. It's money she uses to fund research into the life and times of war artist Evie Lucas. Lucy is keen to produce a biography and so off she goes in search of the mysterious Ms. Lucas. There are reasons Lucy's intrigued by the artist that link back to her late husband but; I'm not leaving spoilers and I'm not telling you what those reasons are!.

The clever thing about stories that use genealogy is how much leverage that gives the author. There can be so many skeletons in a family cupboard and Barbara Erskine takes that idea just about as far as possible without it becoming unbelievable. We have Evie's grandson, Michael, who seems reluctant at first but then perhaps a little too keen to help. Why?. It's here the supernatural angles begin and ghosts suddenly march through the plot adding a little of their own story to fill in Evie's background history and add more and more intrigue, plus some darkness, to Lucy's research. Why do people seem so reluctant to help only to then change their minds?.

The World War II scenery is nicely evoked and the life and times of the people, how they act differently during conflict, nicely handled.

Barbara Erskine mixes her supernatural events with family research to tell the tale of a love story from the past and contrasts it against the dreadful grief threatening to overshadow Lucy. That's the joy of the novel. There's so much shadow and shade, so many strands reaching out only to be drawn together in a way that's thoroughly entertaining and believable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Barbara Erskine 24 July 2014
By Polly
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yet another brilliant book from Barbara Erskine. Lucy struggling to cope after the tragic death of her husband receives a grant to write a book about Evie Lucas a WWII artist. Written from Evie's vewpoint as well as Lucy's we meet some fascinating characters along the way. Both women are caught up in misunderstandings and I think Lucy stands out as the stronger character of the two, determined to get to the truth about Evie's life despite several set backs from Evie's descendants who will not talk or simply 'forget to mention'!!

To my mind Huw and Maggie give a lot of credence to the ghost part of the story. Let's face it without ghosts there would be no Barbara Erskine, and she never fails to use Christianity to fight the evil spirits. If I have to have one negative aspect to the book I would say the ending was a bit too Harry Potter-ish for me.

I just didn't want the book to end. It is nearly as good as Lady of Hay and I look forward to the next Erskine book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have loved all of Barbara Erskine's books and this latest edition is no exception. An enigmatic artist who wished to capture the lives of the airman who valiantly fought against overwhelming odds through the Battle of Britain. A young woman whose talent captured the human side of war on her canvas. Evie's life is far from simple, juggling her painting with the hard work of keeping the family farm working through the hardships of the Second World War. Falling in love with a young Pilot Officer, manipulated by the shadowy son of neighbours whose vengeful spirit will continue to affect the family members in the future. From the 1940's to current times the characters lives, loves & heartaches seep into your sole. Even after death her beloved brother tries to put right a wrong which he was unable to prevent because of his untimely death in the skies above Sussex, when the few gave so much for the many. A spectoral battle with the manipulative man who controlled his sister over much of her adult life. The dedicated biographer who in striving for the truth stirs up the ghosts of the past and finds it hard to come to terms with her own loss in the present. Hard to put down I was so engaged with the story that I finished it in two days. Don't miss this book if you do you just might regret it.....
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 7 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant read. I think this is one of my favourite books by the author. I was engaged with the story and characters from the first page through to the end. Definitely a book I will read again and again. The story is set in the present day and 1940s southern England during the Battle of Britain; the author's father was in the RAF and I think this personal research shines through in how comfortable she is with her subject matter and how smoothly the story builds towards the confrontation at the end. The author deals well with the jealousy and misunderstandings that occur, and shows how precious are those support characters we all need in our lives.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let Down 1 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read every one of Barbara Erskine's novels (some of them twice), I was really looking forward to this,her latest novel.It started well and was very evocative of wartime Britain,with a parallel modern day story of art dealer Lucy Standish and her interest in Evie Lucas. However,midway through,the whole novel seemed to run out of steam and the storyline became more and more silly and repetitive. It wasn't even a very good ghost story and I wonder,sadly, whether it is time for Ms Erskine to lay down her pen.
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