A deliciously gothic story of wishes and curses – a new dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop full of lace and smoke.
Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay…
A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 207 members
I found this book quite poorly written, and i just really couldn’t connect with it or with the main character at all. The ending was also disappointing, the plot was good but it could have been done so much better. Unfortunately i didn’t enjoy this one at all and only finished it to give a fair review.
The Shadow in the Glass Dare to make a wish?... Eleanor (Ella) Hartley wishes she is more than just a lowery house maid. Forced into service, once the lady of the house passes away. She has to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man who is now her guardian. Eleanors’ only escape is in the books in the library, where she is not allowed to enter. One night, amongst her beloved books Eleanors’ wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother appears and makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price. A beautiful, gothic and creepy debut by JJA Harwood. This is undoubtedly a dark retelling of Cinderella where happily-ever- after comes at a price. I was truly captivated and wanting more with each page. I loved the character development of Eleanor throughout, as well as the other characters as they respond to her actions. The author has done a superb job at bringing Victorian London to life through her gorgeous and vivid writing. Such a gripping and chilling read that will make you think twice about making a wish. 5/5⭐️’s Thank you HarperVoyagerUK and NetGalley for giving me an ARC ebook copy to read and give an honest review. ✨The Shadow in the Glass is set to be published 18th March 2021 by HarperVoyagerUK✨
I loved the world of this book. It's a unique gothic fairytale that added layers of depth, which I really appreciated in a novel that could otherwise have been a lot of fluff. Thanks for the ARC!
The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood is an excellent novel that has it all: historical fiction, suspense, mystery, fantasy, fairy tale elements, and kept me enthralled throughout. I really, really enjoyed this story. At first one thinks it is purely a fantasy novel, but gorgeous cover aside, there is so much more. Yes there is an element of the fairy tale of Cinderella, but that is where the comparison stops. This has a much more real, dark, heavy, and Victorian element to it. The grit and grime of London really was a great backdrop for the feel of the book. At times it even sprouts a moment of gothic and eeriness to it that gave me chills. It slowly draws the reader in initially, but as the story heats up, so does the pace. I was on the edge of my seat, quickly turning pages to see how the story of Ella and the choices/decisions she had to make based on her circumstances and the wishes that were granted (or not). I enjoyed the twists and turns as well. I enjoyed Ella as the main character. She was like able, yet imperfect and flawed. I found myself in her corner from the very beginning. I really enjoyed the journey I was able to take with her. The supporting cast of characters really added to the novel as well. 5/5 stars For anyone that loves a good, dark, gothic, and historical novel that has a dash of fairy tale added. Thank you NG and HarperVoyager for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
The Shadow in the Glass promised a dark retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella that would appeal to fans of Erin Morgenstern, and to be frank these were the only reasons I had wanted to pick this book up. Not exactly the combination I had expected, but I saw two aspects I liked and I was game. Of course, then I had come in with such high expectations. Whether or not Harwood delivered, is another question. After the death of her stepmother, Ella has gone from lady in training to Maid within her household controlled by her lecherous stepfather. Her only salvation is burning candles and sneaking into the library to escape into the world of a book. One night, she is visited by a shadow of a black-eyed woman who offers her 7 wishes — the exchange being her soul once all seven wishes are complete. However, each and every wish will come with a price and Ella must decide if the price is worth paying. I am glad I discovered this book. I’m usually into dark books in general, but there’s just something I always appreciate with twisted retellings of classic fairy-tales. The Shadow in the Glass infuses the classic Cinderella story with a layered, sensual, and embittered flavour. Harwood spares no time for nice yet empty platitudes, preferring to jump into the dark and destitute reality of Victorian London instead. Gone is the often-preached message of “kindness and valor triumphs over all,” and what is left is a darker, more humane story of passion, desperation, desire, and power. Eleanor, or Ella, is such a riveting character to read. Her background, while reminiscent of the Cinderella archetype—a kind girl hurled into life of destitution and abuse—with all the expectations readers familiar with the classic tale might have for her, hints at a more twisted side that becomes more apparent as the book goes on. She does project the classic traits of being kind and caring to the people she loves, but yet in her lies a darkness buried deep within that begins to surface the moment she gets seven wishes (well, six that she seeks to use anyways) on her hands. Ella cares deeply for her friends, loves passionately, and wants desperately. Ella’s journey is a breathtaking race full to the brim with tension, passion, and desperation. What happens when her desires, both selfish and selfless, rapidly flourish to a rate she can’t control? Temptations are abound, of course. A combination of circumstances, desires, and blooming passion eventually drive Ella’s life to a series of decisions that come with their consequences — and this drives home the question what lengths would one go to for their happily-ever-after, and would that all be worth it? One of the many things Harwood does well in The Shadow in the Glass is how she engages with her influences in this story. The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr. Faustus aptly becomes the catalyst to Ella gaining her Faustian bargain of seven wishes for her soul. This book is, to me, one of the more successful takes on the concept of Faustian bargains as it borrows many influences from the original work, yet comes together on its own. There are several moments throughout the book where the parallels between the two become apparent, but The Shadow in the Glass strips away the philosophical and religious grandeur from Dr. Faustus and taps into its more human potential. I found this to work incredibly well in Harwood’s favour as I was able to sympathise more with Ella and understand the temptations she fails to resist. Brought together with the dark and destitute reality Victorian London pose to women of lower social status, The Shadow in the Glass presents an exploration of darker Cinderella archetypes while giving its protagonist ample reason to desire a more active role in her wishes. The vibrant prose and sense of magical realism, while reminiscent of Erin Morgenstern’s works (in a good way), also make way for mysteries, speculations, and multiple readings into what truly happened in this scenario. Was there truly something supernatural involved? Was the truth a lot more mundane then we might think? We’ll never truly know (although if you ask me, I’m in team supernatural), and there’s just something alluring about it. The Shadow in the Glass had a lot going on in one package, and it all came together with a sense of a twisted beauty. I am honestly surprised at how much I ended up liking this book. Harwood pulled out all her stops for her debut delivering such a unique, dark, chilling, and deliciously sensual book; and she also manages to blend her source materials sophisticatedly to build a brilliant, vivid story of her own. Passion, desperation, and desire run high in The Shadow in the Glass, and with every tick on the clock the tension gradually ramps up until Harwood swings her last heart stopping blow. I will leave this review with this one question to keep in mind for future readers who plan to pick up this book: who, truly, is The Shadow in the Glass? The Shadow in the Glass is indeed a Cinderella retelling, but make no mistake: it’s creepy, it’s undeniably gothic; and it’s clear happily-ever-after is not without cost, at least not here. Dare to make a wish?
#TheShadowInTheGlass #NetGalley Excellent novel. A must read. Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. I can see why Harper Collins has published it. It's a work of a mastermind. Although the ending was so so. But overall it's a good read. Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK Harper Fiction for giving me an advance copy.
The Shadow in the Glass is a dark retelling of Cinderella with undertones of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Eleanor is a maid for Mr Pembroke but it wasn’t always this way. An orphan, she had been brought up by the Pembrokeshire as one of their own. When Mrs Pembroke died, Eleanor was moved into service. Eleanor dreams of a different, better life and so begins the dark journey into getting what she wants. I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t a classic retelling and the darkness was the right level to keep me hooked. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day!