Thursday, October 28

Book Review: The Hour Before Dawn

Title: The Hour Before Dawn

Author: Sarah MacDonald

Pages: 344

Summary: When David, a handsome army officer falls in love with Fleur, the young daughter of his captain, she abandons her career aspirations to become an army wife and mother in Singapore. After their first blissfully happy years together, tragedy strikes and Fleur is left widowed and with her young twin daughters, Nikki and Saffie. Grief-stricken, she prepares to take her daughters back to England - and then one of them mysteriously vanishes, without a trace.

Nikki, now pregnant and living in New Zealand, is still tormented by the disappearance of her twin sister. Unable to reconcile with her mother, the ghosts of the past haunt her dreams.

Then Fluer goes missing en route to New Zealand, Nikki must journey to Singapore to find her mother and attempt of a reconciliation. But then the long-hidden ghosts make a dramatic reappearance, sending shockwaves through the entire family.

My Rating: 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I just couldn’t get into this book. The writing style was great. I really liked how the author told the story, described the setting, and set everything up, but the story it self just didn’t do it for me.

For one, I felt like I’ve read the story, seen the movie many times over. Family haunted by tragic loss of child/sister, who never knew what really happen, torn apart and estranged (or close to it) because of this loss, come together when secrets resurface and body is found. I was hoping for something less formula and something a little more unique. I also found a lot of the “secrets” and reveals to just not work with the story, to me it seemed they were there to add a twist or be controversial, I can’t get into it because it would really spoil the book, but I just didn’t see any of it link together the way it should have. The investigation part of the book also bugged me, again it just didn’t come together very well. It felt the book was written in chunks, with a certain end goal, but it wasn’t written in a way that brought it all together to a good story. Which brings me to the ending, I hated it. It was cliché as cliché could get. I kept asking myself, “Seriously? That was the ending?”

What I liked, well the writing style was great, as I said above. It’s what kept me reading. I enjoyed the story being told, the author writes some very lovely descriptions, and details about life and the world around her characters. I’m not turned off the author yet, her writing style is what kept me reading the book, and I will likely give her another chance. But overall, this book wasn’t a good one for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don’t think I would. There is a possibility of a good story there, but I found too many things to be cliché. The surprises of the book were not that surprising. The author is a good story teller, so I’d probably recommend her, but just not this particular book.

What to read next: I haven’t got a clue. If you enjoyed the book, I’m sure there are many out there that are similar. At times I was reminded of the Thirteenth Tale and the Lace Reader, with the themes of twins, family and such. But not sure what would be good to read next.

Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 100+ Challenge, Fall into Reading, Global Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge

1 comment:

  1. It's really hard for me to reconcile when a book is so well written, but the story it tells falls so flat. I have had it happen to me numerous times, and I always walk away feeling disappointed. I also hate books that are full of cliches and that basically tells a story that has been told a hundred times before. I think telling an interesting story is just as important as the style and quality of the writing, and actually a had a long conversation about this with my husband after reading a post that Aarti wrote about the importance of good writing. I am sorry to hear that this book fell flat for you. I probably wouldn't read it after reading your review because the lack of originality would surely bug me. Thanks for your honest reflections on this one!