Synopsis (From Goodreads):
A long time ago, women bent on exercising their wit and prowess in a kingdom not their own made treason and murder fair game. Marriage became manipulation, a means to an end. Children were the enemy. And the days of the House of David were numbered–unless one woman could find the strength to conquer them all.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars – A good one-time read. (This is the first of a trilogy)
Dark Hour is a typical scandal-among-the-royals story. All the tragedy stems from inside the palace, and most of the manipulation is spurred by one, hateful character that is hellbent on securing the throne to their benefit. The main character, Jehoshebet, plays less an active role than I had hoped. I had thought she would be more heroine-like, but she comes out more as a survivor. I’m not entirely disappointed by this because of the book’s roots, though (more on that later).
The characters are well crafted, their personalities are very different, and consistent. I can see them as real people (and they are based on real people, but that makes the character building territory all the more treacherous!). This is crucial, particularly because the characters are numerous and their names are so foreign that you can mix them up quite often as I did in Dark Hour. Their unique personalities helped me recognized them, and thank goodness, or I’d have really been lost.
The story is well crafted and the plot is thick, but it is a bit wordy. I think many paragraphs could have been cut out and I wouldn’t have lost anything pertinent to the storyline or character development. What really sold me on the book, believe it or not, is the explanatory bit at the back where the author shares where her inspiration came from. She wrote Dark Hour based off of brief tidbits of scripture from the bible.
The sheer magnitude of research the author must have faced and the amount of effort she must have put into this book impressed me all the more. I definitely recommend the book, and the author as well.
My overall impression is that the book is a brilliant tale, but perhaps too wordy for those just dipping their toes into the biblical fiction pool. If you’re a bookworm, though, hit it!