The Midnight Man by Charlotte Mede

Brava

Historical

ISBN: (10) 0758223676, (13) 978-0758223678

Reviewed by Amelia

   

 

Lady Helena Hartford’s life is in danger. Her nephew by marriage, The Bishop of Sissinghurst, wants her confined to Bedlam Hospital so he can have control of her fortune, which she brought into her marriage. She’s done well at avoiding capture so far, but when she meets the Bishop’s agents at a London opium den one night she thinks her luck has run out.

But there is someone else at the den that evening. Nicholas Ramsay is the richest man in England. A loner, he is rarely seen, and when he appears at her side, Helena is sure he’s there to hurt her. She runs from him, only to find him at her ruined studio later in the evening.

When he rescues her yet again she finds out he has a task for her artistic talents. He wants her to accompany him to Tierra del Fuego to sketch evidence that backs up Darwin’s theory of evolution. Ramsay gives Helena no choice but to go with him. She’s sure he’s up to no good, but at this point he’s the lesser of two evils.

Or so she thinks.

 The Midnight Man is like its hero, complex, dark and a little sinister. The novel explores evil in its many shapes and forms, and it does it in such detail that at times I found myself cringing and wanting to stop reading. But I couldn’t. I felt compelled to turn the pages and see what happened next, to watch it play out like a production on a stage.

Helena is a tragic, yet strong, character. Men have controlled her entire life, when all she wants is to be left alone to practice her art. I truly felt empathy for her, and hated the things she had to go through. Ramsay is a tortured hero, and at times it was hard for me to like him. But he stayed true to his character and in the end redeemed himself, despite doing some things that made me want to smack him.

When I was done reading, it took me a while to try and form an opinion of this book. It had provoked strong emotions in me, ranging from empathy to hate to love, and anything that can do that deserves a nod and a nudge to friends that you should, “try this book.” It’s not a light read, but in the end I’m glad I took the journey.

     

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