Book Review: The Shadow in the Glass by J.J.A. Harwood

The Shadow in the Glass

Author: J.J.A. Harwood
Publisher: HarperVoyager (May 4, 2021)
Hardcover, 416 pages
Fantasy, Adult Dark Fantasy, Gothic Horror
Goodreads

Summary

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 to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it.

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

CW: abuse, sexual assault, rape (off page, discussed on page), unwanted pregnancy, abortion/miscarriage, murder

This was not at all what I was expecting, but was so amazing anyway. A very gothic horror, Faustian spin on a Cinderella retelling. The descriptions in this book are so vivid and chilling, I’m pretty sure I got lung damage from breathing in imaginary mold, haha.

I was expecting a bit more of a Cinderella story from this book, but it’s definitely heavy on the horror and less on the fairy tale. The Cinderella element (beyond her name, I mean) doesn’t really come into play much until the very end of the book – but gosh, was it sure glorious when it finally did.

DEFINITELY watch out for those content warnings. I was… not prepared. This is DARK.

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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