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The Darkest Hour Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007513127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007513123
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 4.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (474 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Ockenden on 3 Aug. 2014
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 By B. E. Gosden on 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 July 2014
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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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not always too keen on books which have a World War II element but as this one is by Barbara Erskine – whose books I enjoy – I decided to read it anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself totally absorbed in the story – both past and present. Lucy’s husband has died in an unexplained car crash and shortly afterwards she hears she has received a grant to help her fund the research and writing of a biography of Evie Lucas – an almost forgotten war artist. Lucy became interested in the subject after her husband had bought a painting he believed to be by Evie.

Lucy’s research leads her to Michael Marston, Evie’s grandson, who now lives in what was Evie’s cottage and which still contains many of her personal possessions. At first Michael is rather cool about the idea of a biography but gradually he warms to the idea and that is where the problems begin. Ghosts, both benevolent and malign, start appearing, Michael’s girlfriend, Charlotte, shows herself in her true colours and people Lucy approaches in her research blow first hot and then cold. Where will it all end?

I found many of the scenes in this book extremely poignant – probably because they resonated with my personal circumstances and a recent loss. I found myself in tears over Lucy’s grief for her husband and over Evie’s love affair with Tony, the charming airman. I thought the supernatural elements were as ever very well done and I loved the way the strands of the stories were interwoven as more and more was gradually revealed of Evie’s life. The evil people were convincingly evil and yet at the same time all too human.

I thought the characters were well drawn and the way they changed during the book was convincing and believable.
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