After Midnight is such a common name for a book. And many of these are romances. But this one was called Gothic by some reviewers and that led me to pick it up to read. I am a big fan of Victoria Holt, and I thought maybe this book will be something like her books. But After Midnight resembles neither Victoria Holt’s books, nor something like Rebecca.
I will admit it took me a while to get my bearings. The plot is complex, and maybe so is the writing? It is certainly not very easy on the reader. Or maybe I was just distracted when I started reading the book. We can determine that it is some time after the war with France. The setting is the Regency era in England, or somewhere close. We know that Alix is an impostor trying to fit into an Earl’s household. Only her lady’s maid is in on the secret.
Inexplicably, Alix’s uncle works for the Earl and handles his horses. But he doesn’t know she is actually the Lady. Hard as she tries, small discrepancies escape, like Alix’s expertise at the piano, or her artistic disposition. It seems that she also suffers nightmares and is haunted by a turbulent past. Her uncle, Quenton, or Quincy as he is known by, sets off to France to settle some old debts.
Alix tries to blend into the household and makes friends. She is not as evil as the one she replaced, and the Earl is drawn to her. Although, he is almost estranged from his wife due to her scandalous behavior. The butler is in on the secret, and tries to protect Alix.
Meanwhile, Alix’s uncle has a lot of surprises in store for him in France. Robert, another character, seems to follow in the footsteps of Quenton. But it took me a long long time to understand who this character was.
After Midnight will have you engrossed. The pace is slow enough that you will have time to evaluate different scenarios in your mind. Historic suspense is a genre I am beginning to love – actually, one I have always loved, since even Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes are historic – and After Midnight keeps the plot tight.
If you love mystery and suspense, After Midnight is a book you will return to again and again.