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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved all of Barbara Erskine's books and this latest edition ...
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...
Published 4 months ago by Jackie Ockenden

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let Down
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...
Published 4 months ago by Annie Acorn


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved all of Barbara Erskine's books and this latest edition ..., 3 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mysterious artist, World War II and a woman heart broken by grief., 17 July 2014
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Darkest Hour (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. It's all cleverly done and the slow unveiling of Evie's life quite intriguing. Certainly kept me hooked to the point I read the novel over one weekend.

Happy to recommend this emotional, bitter sweet, novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Barbara Erskine, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 7 July 2014
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B. E. Gosden (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let Down, 1 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
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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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Darkest Hour, 8 July 2014
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
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. I particularly liked Huw and his wife Maggie as well as Michael’s mother, Juliette. The book as ever with this author, is well written and the research is meticulous. The World War II sections were excellent and really showed how the war affected ordinary people and made them do things they might never have considered in peacetime.

Barbara Erskine’s many fans will love this book even though the historical elements are relatively recent. If you like time-slip books then give this one a try.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, how I loved this book!, 9 July 2014
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
What an amazing book! I was gripped from page 1. A fabulous plot full of twists and turns with great three dimensional characters. Misunderstandings, manipulation, cruelty, missed opportunities, a beautiful love story - it was all there. The setting of the historical action during the Battle of Britain was inspired and completely accurate. My heart was in my mouth every time the Spitfires took to the sky.

Up until now, the Sands of Time was my favourite Barbara Erskine novel. No longer. And the Darkest Hour will take some beating!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... time for a Barbara Erskine book that was as good as Lady of Hay and Kingdom of Shadows, 13 Aug 2014
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C. Simons "Midnight" (Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Hardcover)
I have been waiting for a long time for a Barbara Erskine book that was as good as Lady of Hay and Kingdom of Shadows. I was really looking forward to this book but it did not live up to expectations any more than any of her other books in recent years. It was simply torturous to finish and for me the story was highly predictable and to be honest boring. I wish I had borrowed from the library instead of investing in the hard back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money and time, 28 July 2014
By 
joanne hay (wrexham, wrexham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Hardcover)
This book only started to get interesting after halfway through. Many many times I thought about stopping reading as I found it to be tedious and boring. However, as an avid re-reader of Barbara's books I persevered until the end hoping for some action. I wish I hadn't bothered. This book will not be read by me again.

I love all of her past books though!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars but have to say I don't think this was one of her best. In fact I found it a bit boring ..., 2 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Darkest Hour (Kindle Edition)
I llove Barbara Erskine's books, but have to say I don't think this was one of her best. In fact I found it a bit boring and predictable and found some of the characters rather too dimensional - unusual for her. I also thought that both heroines - past and present - were a bit wimpy and not entirely believable. I wanted to give Evie a good shaking for letting Marston take advantage of her. This wouldn't put me off reading more of her books, but this one is bottom of the list of likely rereads.
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The Darkest Hour
The Darkest Hour by Barbara Erskine (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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