A deliciously gothic story of wishes and curses – a new dark fairy tale set against a Victorian backdrop full of lace and smoke.
Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid.
Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter.
One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay…
A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.
‘A gothic twist on Cinderella that is truly exquisite. Chilling and beautiful – I devoured it in one sitting’
Bestselling author Katie Lowe
‘A thought-provoking take on a classic’
‘An impresive debut’
About the author
JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields.
When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats. THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS is her debut novel.
Harwood debuts with a half-baked Gaslamp fantasy take on "Cinderella" that asks what collateral damage the rags-to-riches fairy tale might cause. Orphan Eleanor Hartley was taken in by the Pembroke family and raised well until age 13, when Mrs. Pembroke died. For the past four years, Eleanor has been a maid in the house that used to be her own and Mr. Pembroke has a habit of "interfering" with the maids. She's 17 when her fairy godmother appears to her, offering seven wishes in exchange for Eleanor's soul once she has used them all. Resolving never to make the final wish, Eleanor takes the deal, hoping to rescue the staff from Mr. Pembroke and restore herself to wealth. But power comes with a price: each time she uses a wish, someone dies. When Mr. Pembroke's dashing son returns to England, Eleanor adds a future with him to her list of desires but is getting what she wants worth the cost? Harwood's tale is dark but never quite chilling, wandering into an ethical morass without ever taking a stand. And while a late revelation expertly recasts Eleanor's character, readers will be frustrated with her perceived obtuseness for much of the beginning. Fans of retold fairy tales will be drawn to the premise but disappointed by the execution. \n