The Shadow in the Glass

Good Morning to you all!

I write to you on a very sunny Saturday morning, a coffee to my side, tucked into a blanket, whilst the birds that woke me up early this morning, continue to chirp and coo.

I hope you are well and that you are enjoying your summer (or Winter in the Southern Hemisphere!), that its filled with memories, happiness and books, lots of books!

Recently I have been finding that I have been receiving more books than I can keep up with (but thats what being a book lover is all about!) and I remembered that I had a gorgeous ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) on my Kindle from the lovely people at Harper Collins to read. I have read many books in the first half of this year (some of which I don’t always want to review publicly for a matter of different reasons) however I have found that since the world began to reopen, my reading speed has slowed down hugely.. and if that is you too, know that that is okay! We have spent so long having to go for walks in the freezing cold or curled up inside, just wanting to be with our friends, loved ones, and socialising in the sun, so make the most of the excitement! Your books will always be there for you to read when you are ready to return.

The book that I wanted to share with you this month is one that was published just a few months ago, so very new and you may not have heard of it just yet – but if you enjoy dark fairytale/fantasy fiction like I do, then this may be one to run down to your local bookstore and buy (also the cover is gorgeous and would like beautiful on a shelf!).

THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS BY JJA HARWOOD

‘Once upon a time, Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. Now forced to work hard under the forgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the book she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library that she isn’t permitted to enter. One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered.’

Firstly what I think in great in this dark Cinderella meets Aladdin tale is that the author has spun around the usual Disney tale of a wicked Stepmother, and has made the Stepfather the reason why our main character 17 year old Eleanor (Ella used by some characters to her in the book), is so miserable and finds herself in the position she is.

‘She crawled into bed, ignoring the smell of mildew from the blankets and holding the memory of the fairy stories like hands cupped around a tiny flame. When she slept she dreamed of vast wings carrying her away, and she could not tell if they were her own’.

The writing from this author is truly immersive and descriptive. It’s a debut novel so I wasn’t expecting such beautifully polished, well researched, flawless writing. I felt like I was transported to Victorian England, it was like a day trip to Beamish. Everything so detailed, from what they are wearing, eating, cooking, cleaning with, the sights and smells of the street and the manner of society. For some readers I can understand that this may drag the book out, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The characters in the plot are all so well written, such strong characters. The only character I didn’t feel like I ‘knew’ by the end of the story was that of the cook, but she didn’t have that much bearing on the story. I did however find Eleanor incredibly frustrating, she began the tale so intelligently, and yet by the end was a desperate, silly, greedy girl.

So you’d think that you’ve seen every type of dark fairytale you could come across by now, and whilst this setting is very Cinderella, the wishes are a dark Genie of the lamp, brought to life by a book found in the library and in the form of a woman with no eyes! Eleanor has 7 wishes that can get her anything she wants (apart from more wishes of course!) however in exchange of those 7 wishes, Eleanor must hand over her Soul. Okay thinks Ella, I’ll just use 6 then. However with each wish comes a dark consequence, and as each consequence builds, Ella gets more and more desperate, greedy and more impatient. She’s convinced herself that she’s doing this for the right reasons.. but is she?

CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5

Although this is a dark, magical, fantasy book, it’s filled with adult themes so it is very much a grown up fairytale. The lady got more and more thrilling as it went on and I was a little disappointed when it ended.

However I cannot say I was blown away by the ending. It was quite action packed but also rather blunt. I wanted more feeling from Eleanor than I got – I won’t say any more as otherwise you won’t need to read the book! Also… I’m not sure who came up with the title but I don’t feel it fits in with the story.

Debut novel, fantasy fiction, adult fairy tale. I loved it and it’s made me want to read more of the genre!

‘And fairy stories are just stories, and not lessons for careful children, or escapes for girls with nowhere left to run.

Nothing is ever one thing, dear girl. If that were so, then you would be just a housemaid’.

Thank you to Harper Collins for my advanced reading copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

WASHED DOWN WITH:

If like me you’re a coffee drinker, I can 100% recommend this chocolate orange Beanies. I’m currently learning good eating habits with Noom, and I also can’t eat Terry’s chocolate Oranges anymore (boo!!) due to my dairy free diet, so this is AMAZING. It tastes like I’m drinking orange hot chocolate almost, its Smooth and a light roast, giving you your caffeine and sweet hit in one low calorie drink!

I love it as my reading companion, but its also incredible for taking on my morning 2 mile walk before work to wake up and start the day fresh. You can buy this online at http://www.beaniesflavourco.co.uk or you can usually pick them up at Aldi & Lidl! £2-2.50 for a jar dependent on where you purchase it from.

So readers! What do you think of Shadow in the Glass? Do you think its one for you?

I am actually thinking of doing something waaaay out of my comfort zone and going to try to read 2 fiction books at once!!! Has anyone done this/do this regularly and how do you do it successfully? Please share with us all below!

Wishing you an amazing weekend.

Until the next Chapter

Emma, X0

Socials: @papyrusandpeppermint

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