Monday, February 15, 2016

'The Meaning of Night' continued

It was a mistake to wait several years after reading The Meaning of Night by the late Michael Cox before starting his other novel, The Glass of Time. I hadn't realized the second book continued the story of the first, but from a different perspective. The perspective of the first is that of a killer in 19th century England who explains in great deal the how and why of his crime. The second novel is told from the point of view of his daughter, Esperanza Gorst, who knows nothing at first of her father or his crime.

Esperanza, directed by her guardian, takes a position as lady's maid to a mysterious and beautiful widow called the Lady Tansor. This woman may herself have been involved in one or more murders. Now  Esperanza is told to earn the lady's love and trust and ultimately to try to marry her oldest son, thus eventually becoming the next baroness herself.

The novel is long and extremely complex, with secrets revealed and mysteries unraveled in virtually every chapter. We discover, as Esperanza does, that she is not just continuing her father's story but also pursuing the same objectives.

I don't rate this as highly as the first novel. Even for the Victorian novel it purports to be, it is just too convoluted and unconvincing. It still makes good reading, however.

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