In the late 1930s, a group of old friends at a sunny wedding could not imagine what storms are about to engulf them.
Fierce pilot Billie is glad she's got a job at last — only trouble is it's in some little dust-up in Spain. Secretive Toby has no wish to volunteer for anything. Till he finds out for himself what blitzkrieg means.
Newlywed Eliza is posted to Intelligence at fortress Singapore — safer than London, she thinks. But when Singapore is reduced to embers, it is actress Izabel who is forced to play the role of her life.
"A circle of friends scattered by the chaos of war. Fast-moving plot, plenty of surprises, and characters you want to cheer for.
Embers at Midnight is the second novel in Kate Lance's intriguing Tempo trilogy. Her first, Testing the Limits, introduces her young Australian characters in the 1930s as they pursue their dreams to England. Embers at Midnight begins as that decade draws to a close, as rising fascism in Europe and conflict in Asia foreshadow unavoidable tragedy to them all.
Both novels feature strong, intelligent, capable women. At the age of 21 Eliza McKee sailed from Adelaide to England working as a deckhand aboard the iron four-masted 'windjammer' Inverley. On that voyage she met the man she would later come to love, and in Embers her loyalty and patience is rewarded. Eliza's glamorous aunt Izabel Malory, a talented actress, flees London for Hong Kong when a secret from her past is revealed, but she goes with her chin up and the reader knows she will prevail. Aviator Billie Quinn is a better pilot than most of her male rivals, but she must fight entrenched sexism for the chance to prove her worth. Billie is pursued by Eliza's brother Pete, who learns -- to his confusion -- that the lanky red-head is a woman who plays by her own rules.
Testing the Limits was a lighter read than Embers at Midnight. In the first novel the characters are young and although they suffer set-backs, the reader feels that their youth and resilience will bring them through. In Embers at Midnight the savagery of war separates loved ones and visits horror on millions across the globe. War and loss tear at the resilience of our characters, and the reader knows they will be deeply scarred by their trials.
Embers at Midnight closes on a hopeful note, however. With the war at an end, our brave characters can start to build their futures. This reader will be looking forward to the third novel of the Tempo trilogy to find out how their stories conclude."
Average rating from 4 members
If you're a fan of good fiction and haven't discovered Kate Lance yet welcome to the very best day of your life. Kate is one of an elite group of contemporary Australian writers who deserves to find a large worldwide readership.
Not since Olivia Manning's classic Fortunes Of War sequence of novels have I read a story that so perfectly captured a moment in time as the world went to war and the people captured in its horrors find solace or despair in a changed world.
The writing is beautiful and haunting. The characters are drawn with razor-sharp precision. And the research is impeccable.
It's compelling reading of the highest standard, full of evocative triumph and tragedy.
A brilliant read! This is a story about a group of friends, beginning at the onset of WW2. Each friend has their own aims and ambitions- Billie is a pilot who desperately wants to work for the war effort, Eliza goes to Singapore with her husband and witnesses the fall of the city, Izabel visits Hong Kong, Toby, working in the Fire Service, loves RAF pilot Stefan, but will Stefan ever really love anyone? I really enjoyed the details of different aspects of the war played out through the experiences of the different characters and the impact this has on their personal stories. As a reader, it feels like you really get to know these people and care about what happens to them. Absolutely brilliant!
Set in wartime Europe, the novel opens up with Eliza, Pete’s sister. She laments about how cunning Charlotte is. ‘’She is always getting what she wants’’ in this case it is her brother exchanging vows with her. Charlotte and Eliza were once friends but the relationship soured when Eliza fell for Harry who is Charlotte's ex-husband. All this happened around the time Charlotte was pregnant for Pete.
Afraid that people will call her child a bastard and scandal she hung onto her marriage until the birth of her child Vivian. The writer introduces characters whose lives, like a ripple in the water are so connected a single stone throw will have everyone feeling the effects. An example of this is how Pete and Charlotte’s union affects Billie, a female pilot whose source of income with the aerial circus is about to end. Billie and Pete were once an item and had plans to start their own aviation business but Pete got himself kicked out of Hamble and into Charlotte’s arms.
The novel takes us on a whirlwind of emotions such as grief, romance and has a modern appeal with queer characters Toby, Stefan, Klara, and Sofia. The book looks at what happens to relationships when thrown in the chaos of war. For some characters, it is either a time of self-discovery, which brings about change for the better or worse. A story about the have and have not’s where we find people like Billie and Charlotte having their tubes tied, not wanting any more children, while Eliza and Klara yearn to be mothers. It is an ‘’All is fair in love and war.’’ situation that brings out the best and worst in characters like Klara, and Stefan.
Feminism is perhaps the biggest theme in the book besides culture, religion, and family. We find each female character emancipating themselves in their own different ways, like getting their tubes tied and having a right to their own body or finding purpose in life, being ambitious, and forsaking relationships for lifelong dreams.
Midnight Embers by Kate Lance reads smoothly but has a few grammatical errors, and though this is the second volume of the Tempo Trilogy, it is written in such a way that the novel stands on its own. Other than this, found no negative aspects in the plot or elsewhere, the novel explores Toby’s ‘’Human condition’’ in a superb manner. Midnight Embers gets a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
However, this book is for readers of 16 years and above. It contains sexual scenes, vulgar language, and violent graphic scenes and may not be for sensitive readers. I recommend it to lovers of historical fiction who have a love for fast-paced novels.
Thank you NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the eARC.
What a brilliant book, I loved it!
The story starts at the onset of WWII with a group of friends, all very appealing characters. The horrors of the war are absolutely terrifying and riveting with all its nightmarish events and sorrow. May there never be another world war, although the threat of it seems to loom on the horizon in today's turbulent times.
I have become a fan of Australian female authors and I would rate Kate Lance in the top tier. Even though I hadn't read the first book this was easily read as a standalone.
Highly recommended, this book should be savored
by any fan of historical novels. Do yourselves a favor and grab this book! You'll be blown away...