Building On His Haunting, Superbly Written Debut, The Meaning Of Night, Michael Cox Returns To A Story Of Murder, Love, And Revenge In Victorian EnglandIn The Autumn Of , Nineteen Year Old Orphan Esperanza Gorst Arrives At The Great Country House Of Evenwood In Northamptonshire There She Will Serve As The New Lady S Maid To The Former Emily Carteret, Now Lady Tansor But Esperanza Is No Ordinary Servant She Has Been Sent By Her Guardian, The Mysterious Madame De L Orme, To Uncover The Secrets That Her New Mistress Has Sought To Conceal And To Set Right A Past Injustice In Which Her Own Life Is Intertwined Unable To Escape The Reverberations Of Past Misdeeds, Lady Tansor Finds Herself Desperate To Keep Esperanza From Learning Dark, Dangerous TruthsAs Well As A Page Turning Period Mystery, The Glass Of Time Is A Beautifully Written And Vividly Imagined Study Of Seduction, Betrayal, And Friendship Between Two Powerful Women Bound Together By The Past Once again I give five stars to a book that actually isn t all that great but nonetheless delivers many hours of enjoyable reading I don t think Cox was trying for great lit ratcha here, so five it is There s a wonderful sense throughout this book that the author is always with you, looking over after each scene to raise an eyebrow or wink but it s very subtle I wonder if that s in the books of the actual period, none of which I have read for years It s a big book, and by the end there can t be than two semi major characters who turned out to be only what they appeared to be This is book two of two, but I understand that it stands alone quite well Certainly did for me, and I haven t read the other one Good, interesting characters and very few cardboard cutouts The relationship between the two lead women is complex and interestingly developed It seems implausible, but proceeds slowly and believably to an inevitable end Plenty of plot twists, including a few at the end that seemed a bit abrupt but as others explained, the author was literally running out of time as he finished this book It s a pity he s gone I would have liked to read another from him and not the first book in this series. The brilliant The Meaning of Night is a tough act to follow, but on balance The Glass of Time holds its own mainly due to the narrator voice the young Esperanza Alice Gorst who is set on her great task by her adoptive mother known as Madame and her tutor known as Basil Thornhaugh For people familiar with TMoN, the plot, who is really Esperanza, who is Madame, the tutor and all mysterious characters, and what her great task is, are all obvious pretty soon, but so what We follow Esperanza as she becomes maid to Lady Tansor, then companion and sort of friend, while doing her secret investigations, and even though we know what s up, the author makes the revelations seem fresh as seen through her eyes Great ending too The tortured Edward Glyver of TMoN gave that book its masterpiece qualities, but The Glass of Time is still a pretty good book though not at the lofty levels of that one. I m a bit disappointed in this follow up to THE MEANING OF NIGHT, my favorite book of 2006 I recommend reading that book before reading this book Otherwise, I think one would become confused with all the information thats crammed in at the end of this story, apparently in order to make sense of the storyline. Reads like a third rate MFA program gone very, very wrong Wants to be Wilkie Collins Isn t Plot ludicrously transparent from early in the novel Characters disappointingly flat and unmemorable, especially given what great lengths the author goes to to tell us how fascinating they all are Writing desperately needed a good editor to slash and burn all of the unnecessary repetition of plot background that was crammed into every other sentence For example, from p.527 I now notice, for the first time, that she is wearing the black velvet band with the locket containing the strands of hair she cut from the head of Phoebus Daunt as he lay dead, by my father s hand, in the snow covered garden of Lord Tansor s townhouse Worst of all, the author seems to have suffered from some impatience with his project, because I got the distinct sense at the end that he was tired of all of this long winded plotting and wanted to hurry up and resolve the story as quickly as possible I can t really blame him. When I first picked up this book, I hadn t realized that it was a sequel to the Meaning of Night I just saw that it was written by Michael Cox and being such a big fan of his first novel, I had to read it Once I started to read the book and recognized some important names from Night, I was doubly pleased to turn each and every page.This is yet another amazing work by Michael Cox Without giving away too much, I ll just say that it expands on and continues the events as described in the Meaning of Night.The story is narrated in the first person by Esperanza Gorst, a woman who was orphaned and raised in France by a surrogate mother and a tutor whom she greatly respects When she s 19, her surrogate French mother tells her that she must leave the home that she loves, the only home she ever knows and is to go to England to a stately house that s the seat to a long line of English nobility on some sort of Great Task Despite her upbringing as a lady of find breading and swift mind, she must enter the House and become a maid to the Lady of the house She is to receive three letters that each explain in further detail what exactly is meant of her and what the Great Task entails.That s all I ll say about the plot of the book, I leave everything else to be enjoyed by future readers As time passes we not only read the words from the narrator herself but also letters from the past that bring life changing events into the fold of the book.I m no great sleuth, but some of the revelations I did see coming, but that never took away from the overall enjoyment of the book The enjoyment comes from seeing how these events come to pass and, importantly, how the protagonist deals with each new discovery she makes.I truly hope that the wait won t be long for Michael Cox s next work He s swiftly become my one of my favorite authors over the span of just two books.The characters are multi dimensioned and the language is a joy to read from beginning to end. This is the sequel to Michael Cox s The Meaning of Night Although I don t think it s absolutely necessary to read the books in the correct order, it would make sense to do so You ll definitely get the most out of this book if you ve read the previous novel first and are already familiar with the plot and the characters.The way The Meaning of Night ended had left me feeling dissatisfied, but The Glass of Time provides the perfect continuation to the story Our narrator is Esperanza Gorst, an orphan who has been raised in France by her father s friend Madame L Orme and her tutor Mr Thornhaugh When she is nineteen years old, she is sent by her guardians to the beautiful estate of Evenwood in England, where she will work as lady s maid to Emily Carteret, the 26th Baroness Tansor At first Esperanza doesn t know why she has been sent to Evenwood and is told only that it is part of Madame L Orme s Great Task As she learns about her mission, however, Esperanza begins to unravel the mysteries of both her own past and Lady Tansor s.I enjoyed The Meaning of Night but I loved The Glass of Time even I thought Esperanza was a likeable character than Edward Glyver the narrator of The Meaning of Night , and the story also seemed to move at a faster pace I literally didn t want to put this book down and finished it in two days considering it s over 500 pages long that should indicate how much I was enjoying it.While I was reading this book there were times when I could almost have believed it really had been written in the 19th century, as the setting, atmosphere and language are all flawlessly Victorian Charles Dickens was clearly one of Cox s biggest influences and he gives his characters Dickensian names, from Armitage Vyse and Billy Yapp to Perseus Duport and Sukie Prout I also noticed lots of similarities to Dickens Bleak House the young orphan searching for the truth of her parentage the noblewoman with a dark secret the way the story moves between an idyllic country house and the dark, dangerous streets of Victorian London the intricate plot and the cleverly interlocking storylines.I could also recognise elements of various Wilkie Collins novels Esperanza Gorst is even seen reading No Name at one point In both writing style and structure this book does feel very like one of Collins sensation novels, filled with cliffhangers and plot twists and with parts of the mystery being revealed through letters, diary entries and newspaper clippings I did find some of the twists very predictable but that didn t matter to me, because it was actually fun to be one step ahead of Esperanza, waiting for her to discover what I had already guessed.It s so sad that there won t be any books from Michael Cox, as he died of cancer in 2009, but together these two novels are the best examples of neo Victorian fiction I ve read complex, atmospheric and beautifully written. Not nearly as good as The Meaning of Night which I would label a masterpiece of pastiche sensational Victoriana This one lacks the overriding suspense mysterious onion skin nuance of its predecessor the story here is rather flat, with very little action though certain scenes were still gripping the twists are telegraphed well ahead of the characters on page perception That being said, the writing is still gooddespite it randomly slipping into present tense for no reason I could see Weird Apparently the author passed away not long after publication, so we ll never know what other pastiche goodness was lurking unformed in his brain Shame, that, as he obviously shared my love for Wilkie Collins D But please read TMON before attempting this follow up it s so much better. I don t give out five stars easily, but I was completely entranced by this book The quality of the storytelling drew me in immediately, and the intriguing plot kept me turning the pages long into the night It s hard to describe the story without giving away any of its many secrets It s set in 1876, and although it was written only recently, it s presented in the writing style of a Victoriana mystery, a mood the author captures perfectly Esperanza is sent by her guardian, Madame, to be a lady s maid to the highly strung Lady Tansor Madame tells Esperanza that in this new role, she is to undertake a Great Task which will right a wrong in which she has a vested interest She then slowly begins to reveal the details of this task and all the long held secrets it encompasses some of them are guessable, others are not, and even when it s fully revealed, there are still secrets lurking in the shadows.The book is intricately woven with beautifully crafted twists It explores love, lies and betrayal, and the repercussions which linger on in the conscience and reach down to the next generation I was swept up in all its dark deliciousness ETA This is a sequel to The Meaning of NightI haven t read that, showing that The Glass of Time can be read as stand alone A word of warning through looking through the blurb and reviews of The Meaning of Night, it seems that the same secrets are told in each book but from two generations points of view, so be careful not to read the reviews for either book too closely as some of them give away the secrets to the other. A sequel to The Meaning of Night, this book was fairly predictible I knew right off who the main character was, who her mysterious guardians were, and had a feeling about how this would end I did prefer Esperanza s narration in this book over Edward s narration in The Meaning of Night Esperanza was much of a likeable character than Edward Spoiler opinion Frankly, if the author didn t want to tip off his readers, he should have written his Edward character to have a little creativity That character loves the initials E.G Edward Glyver, Edward Glapthorn, Edwin Gorst, I m pretty sure Dr Edmund Grendon, and he named his daughter Esperanza Gorst The only time Edward uses an entirely different pseudonym is when he is his daughter s tutor, and I still figured out it was Edward.