It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Shadow in the Glass by J.J. A. Harwood. A dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop full of lace and smoke.
About the Author
JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields. When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats. the Shadow in the Glass is her debut novel.
About the book
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, while among her beloved books, 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…
Melding history and fairy tale, this is a dark and intelligent new take on the story of Cinderella that looks at women, the price of labour and the cost of hope.
Poor Ella should be in a more suitable and respectable position. Her former mistress had such plans for her, but unfortunately life has decided to twist the knife. Instead she has been relegated to the life of a skivvy working in a household with vindictive fellow housemaids and a master who thinks servitude equals his gratification – if he so wishes.
After a particularly bad encounter with a conniving wench, Ella finds herself confronted with a business proposition of sorts. She gets her hearts desire and in turn she owes something priceless – nothing is ever for free, everything has a price. Sometimes the price is very dear indeed.
It’s soon apparent that having your wishes granted is literally too good to be true, when each wish takes on a bit of a morbid and sometimes lethal slant. Nothing is ever clear cut when it comes to magic, folklore or those elements in the atmosphere we just can’t explain.
In this gothic retelling of a fairytale which has similarities to Cinderella, the author takes the essence of the story back to its roots, which is dark and not the Disneyesque version everyone knows. This version with all of its somber reality and stark consequences is more in line with any original so-called fairytales.
The author gives old morals and troubles a more modern twist, albeit ones set in a time where class structures determined whether you were at the top of the hierarchy pyramid or at the bottom and at the mercy of wealthy predators.
It’s a riveting tale of magical realism with a hook into the magic of fairytales, whilst skimming the reality of hidden desires and uncomfortable truths. An excellent debut novel.
Buy The Shadow in the Glass at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Voyager; pub date 18th March 2021 – Hardback, eBook & audio | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.