1876. Nineteen-year-old orphan Esperanza Gorst arrives at the great country house of Evenwood to be interviewed for the position of lady's-maid. But Esperanza is no ordinary servant. She has been sent by her guardian, the mysterious Madame de l'Orme, to uncover the dark and dangerous secrets that her new mistress has sought to conceal, and to set right a past injustice in which Esperanza's own closest interests are bound up. Gradually those secrets are revealed, and with them the truth of who Esperanza really is, enmeshing her in a complicated web of intrigue, deceit, and murder that culminates in betrayal by those she trusted most. A sequel to the widely praised The Meaning of Night, The Glass of Time is both a page-turning period mystery and a gripping study of identity, the nature of secrets, and what can happen when past obsessions impose themselves on an unwilling present.
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(240mm x 162mm x 44mm)
John Murray Publishers Ltd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Cox's second pastiche of Victorian sensational fiction is doubly remarkable for its sure grasp of the genre's idiom and its strange relationship to his first (The Meaning of Night, 2006).Nineteen-year-old Esperanza Gorst arrives at Evenwood on September 4, 1876, to interview for the position of personal maid to Emily Duport, the widowed Baroness Tansor. The advertisement in which Esperanza announced her search for such a post constitutes the first of many deceptions Cox's characters practice on each other, for it was placed not by her, but by her Parisian guardian, Madame de l'Orme, and her old friend Basil Thornhaugh, Esperanza's tutor. Their successful attempt to insinuate Esperanza into Lady Tansor's service is only the first step in what they call "the Great Task," a plot so deep-laid that they can disclose its terms to her only over a period of months. Esperanza, whom everyone recognizes as far too cultured and perceptive to be a lady's maid, soon catches the eyes of both Tansor sons, the Byronic heir Perseus and his more easygoing brother Randolph, and cultivates an ever more intimate relationship with Lady Tansor, still mourning her fiance Phoebus Daunt, a bombastic poet who was murdered by his estranged Eton friend Edward Glyver more than 20 years ago. All the while she burns with curiosity to know the reason her protectors have sent her into this haunted household. But readers who recognize Daunt, Glyver et al. will be far ahead of Esperanza, who doesn't realize that her author has pressed the plot of The Meaning of Night into service as the backstory of what would otherwise be a mystery in the mold of Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon.A sequel that will provide utterly different but equally rewarding experiences for readers who have and haven't read its equally leisurely predecessor. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Michael Cox
Michael Cox was born in 1948. After graduating from Cambridge, he was a singer-songwriter before joining Oxford University Press. His first novel, The Meaning of Night, published in 2006 to wide critical acclaim, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and nominated for Waterstones Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards. Michael Cox died in March 2009.