The Turn of Midnight

Mira: Harlequin. Aug. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9780778308836. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488051326. F
Walters stepped away from her usual crime and suspense novels to create two works that take place during the Great Plague years that decimated the populations of Europe and created widespread famine and suffering. The Last Hours explored the terrible months during which millions died almost overnight. This follow-up delves into the aftermath as survivors rebuild their lives. Central to the story are two unlikely heroes: Lady Anne, the widow of an abusive husband, and Thaddeus Thurkell, a willful, educated, courageous serf. When they realize the plague seems to travel from person to person, they ruthlessly quarantine themselves and their symptom-free people in the manor house, forbidding entrance to anyone showing any sign of the disease. Together they protect their land and people and bring a new form of democracy and opportunity for those born to the peasant class, rising above their lowly stations in a way that was impossible prior to the Great Plague.
VERDICT Meticulously researched, Walters’s novel brilliantly depicts the lives of serfs, soldiers, nobility, and clergy and the roles they played in medieval European history, as well as the devastation caused by the loss of so many people. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19.]

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