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The Mirk and Midnight Hour

(Strands #2)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,372 ratings  ·  252 reviews
A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest.
All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union s
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
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Nino Fray I don't think so. I just finished Strands of Bronze and Gold and the story is different. The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a story based on a different…moreI don't think so. I just finished Strands of Bronze and Gold and the story is different. The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a story based on a different ancient fairy tale called Tam Lin, and Strands of Bronze and Gold is based on Bluebeard. (less)

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3.54  · 
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 ·  1,372 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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The Mirk and Midnight Hour is blurbed as a retelling of the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin. I have read and loved several versions of Tam Lin (including Jane Yolen's beautifully illustrated retelling), so I am familiar with the story, and I was curious how author Jane Nickerson would translate the ballad to a Civil War setting.

In Nickerson's version, the heroine is seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey. When Violet's father joins the Confederate Army, he leaves her behind in Mississippi to adjust to lif
"Just at the mirk and midnight hour
The fairy folk will ride,
And they that would their true-love win,
At Miles Cross they must bide." - The Ballad of Tam Lin

3.5 out of 5 stars

While this book deserves a round of applause for retelling such an obscure folk tale, it didn’t quite live up to the hype of its sibling, Strands of Bronze and Gold.

It's 1862, and with the Civil War blasting full steam ahead, it's starting to take its toll on everyone
”We were free and independent. We hoped for little or
Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines

At first, I was a tad disappointed that there wasn't much magic in this one. I mean, it's supposed to be a retelling of Tam Lin, right? Maaaagic!
But Tam Lin's fairies are replaced with practitioners of voodoo, and the magic hoodoo stuff doesn't come into play (much) until the end.
So, not a story steeped in magic.
Well, unless you count the fact that Violet has some sort of affinity with bees. And let's face it, unless you can order them to ATTACK! , how freaki
Jul 31, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Mirk and Midnight Hour is a very atmospheric and creepy novel. However, in the blurb it's called a retelling of the Tam Lin ballad set in civil war era Mississippi. I would say that it's barely that. You don't get to the Tam Lin parts until probably the last twenty pages of the novel. The rest of it is just the story of a girl who lives on a farm in Mississippi who has to deal with new family members after her father remarries and a scheming cousin. Her romance with the Union soldier is unde ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Nickerson's still coming up short on what should be fantastic books, given the setting and source material she draws from--seriously, y'all know I adore a good Southern gothic, and Bluebeard and Tam Lin are two of my favourite folklore pieces. But Strands of Bronze and Gold didn't work, and neither did this. Not enough Tam Lin--the plot didn't know what it wanted to be; so much of the narrative was spent on the domestic drama, the supernatural elements felt seriously shoehoerned in, especially s ...more
Excellent civil-war era story that kept me on the edge of my seat and deftly incorporates fairy tale themes.

Violet Dancey is a Mississippi girl, mourning the death of her twin brother, Rush, and trying to keep her family together as the war drags on. Suddenly confronted with a new stepmother and stepsister, an absent father, and mysterious rumors of voodoo practitioners, she manages to find her way with strength and intelligence. Everything I could tell you about this book would give the impress
Frankie Brown
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Darkly delightful Tam Lin retelling! The language of the writing was wonderful, fit the setting perfectly, and the characters were all so alive. At times it felt like I was reading a southern, civil war-era Downton Abbey. Except with magic. I'm not sure how to classify the magic, either; was it magical realism? Fantasy? I don't know, but I loved it. Definitely a must-read. I think this will also have strong appeal to adults.
Before this book, I was not familiar with the tale of Tam Lin, so I came into this with no expectations. I was just hoping for a good book set during the civil war. This wasn't that.

Most of the book was normal civil war era, historical fiction, and then these paranormal elements were spattered in, until the end when it was laid on heavy. It just felt totally out of place within this book. I didn't get it. And I thought it was stupid. Without all that, this book would have been much better. And
Apr 07, 2013 marked it as to-read
I did not particularly enjoy Strands of Bronze and Gold. However, I am fascinated by Tam Lin (I did a bunch of research on this mythology for my thesis in college), so I will likely give this one a whirl.
As a historical novel set during the second year of the US Civil War, this would have got a higher rating because its plotline isn't so bad, but as a retelling of Tam Lin it simply doesn't work. And it's unfortunate, because anyone familiar with the ballad would probably scramble to get this book owing to the uniqueness of the setting only to find out it's not up to expectations.

There's not really much to say about the causes other than it's essentially the poor execution of the "retelling" part
Unlike the great majority of people here, I actually really liked Strands of Bronze and Gold. I thought it was mesmerizing, deeply atmospheric and with one of the most compelling antagonist I've read about in a while. It certainly had its problems, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. The Mirk and Midnight Hour suffers from quite the opposite problem for me: its craft is superior to SoBaG, but the few problems that were in there bothered me too much, namely, a very rapid love connection, pr ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, ya
For all its atmospheric and mysterious flavor, this story is actually very straightforward. I kept waiting for some kind of twist, something to surprise me, but what you think will happen pretty much is what happens. I wasn't shocked by someone's actions since I had thought all along that this person wasn't honest or decent and had plans that weren't being shared.
Still, I did enjoy the story a lot. The characters are interesting from Violet, to her new step-family, to Seeley and Laney and her f
✦ Maica ✦
I have a lot of mixed feelings concerning this book. The book started off painfully slow. It kept dragging on and on without anything significant happening. We just kept reading about the war and Sunny and Dorian's relationship. I even had half a mind to just DNF this book and be done with it. But I'm glad I didn't because the second half of the book, (view spoiler) really picked up.

Another problem I encountered with this book
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I love, love, love the cover! It sets the right ambiance; all mysterious and surreal and dreamlike.

Characters: I loved Violet. She was sensible and intelligent and practical and just so very relatable. I never once got frustrated with her. She was an awesome protagonist. Her initial dislike for her stepsister Sunny and laudanum-addicted stepmother made absolute sense; it took me awhile to warm up to Sunny. And I appreciated her perceptiveness when it came to Dorian's true
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I don't know why this book has a lowish rating, I thought it was excellent... perhaps it is because I have never heard of Tam Lin and wasn't expecting anything when I decided to read it.
I loved the setting of this, and the characters, the Civil War has always fascinated me so that helped draw me in.
There were a few moments when I felt a tiny bit lost but not from the story, there were a few moments in the book with a sentence or two that I wasn't sure why they were there. Perhaps they had some
Heather Munao
I have mixed feelings about this book. It did an interesting re-casting of a Scottish folk tale in which a maiden must save her lover from the faeries, transforming it into the Civil War where the maiden is Violet, left brotherless and fatherless by the war; the lover is a Union soldier; and the faeries are hoodoo priests. I liked the story-- there was mystery and action, warmth and mood, Southern and Gothic. But. BUT. The portrayal of slavery and voodoo made me uncomfortable. Violet believes sl ...more
Yay, a retelling of Tam Lin! My hear is so happy right now it could burst.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I still don't know how I feel about these books.

Set in the same universe as Strands of Bronze and Gold, Violet Dancy must endure the Civil War as her father is called into duty, leaving her with a drug addicted stepmother and an airhead of a stepsister. Besides the recent death of her twin brother, not everything is all bad. Two family members, Dorian and Seeley, join the Dancys in surviving the drudgery of the war. Secrets and drama arises when Violet and Seeley encounter a wounded Union soldie
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was incredibly excited when I found a copy of The Mirk and the Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson in the "Just Released" section of my local library. I read her previous work, Strands of Bronze and Gold, at the behest of Misty I THINK during a previous Fairy Tale Fortnight and while I didn't absolutely LOVE it, I did enjoy the atmosphere of the novel. I had heard pretty much nothing about The Mirk and the Midnight Hour, but liked enough about that first novel to give this one a go as well. My exc ...more
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, reviewed
Whoa what an interesting turn of events! I picked this up being under the impression that it was loosely based off a fairy tale so I was totally expecting magic. I did get that, but not the way I was expecting at all! What I received was more a historical fiction mixed with Cinderella and some good southern charm with some supernatural properties. A delightful surprise regardless!

So we have this lovely young woman named Violet who has been left in her home with her new stepmother and stepsister
Hazel West
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoughts on the Overall Book: After enjoying Strands of Bronze and Gold I was really excited to start another book by Jane Nickerson, and I was not disappointed with The Mirk and Midnight Hour In fact, I think, overall, I liked it better than Strands. It had an awesome atmosphere, creepy themes, and, in my opinion, more likable characters.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes! It's a lovely cover, when I got the book from the library I actually just sat and stared at it for several minutes. It's something abou
This book really felt like it needed to decide what it was all about. Was it a Southern romance? Was it Southern gothic? Was it a supernatural horror story? What the hell was it? It was all of these but nothing felt cohesive. It just felt like an uncoordinated jumble.

Violet Dancey is a sad Southern girl living in Mississippi at the end of the first year of the Civil War. Her twin brother has recently been killed and her father is about to leave for the war himself. But first, he has to get marri
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
It might just be me... but I feel some underlying racist tones here.
Lauren Elizabeth
Feb 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
First half was fine but then pass halfway, everything dropped :/
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Actual rating maybe 3.5? It wasn't my favorite but I didn't hate it.
Natália Lopes
"Just at the mirk and midnight hour, the fairy folk will ride."
This book was such a surprise, because I really got wrapped in it. Since I didn't like it's predecessor, "Strands of Bronze and Gold" much, I was not particularly excited for this novel, but the dark, Southern gothic feel of this novel really pulled me in. Violet is a much more likable character, and I could fully get her and sympathize with her. I liked her evolution during the novel and how strong and determined she was. The se
Tracy (Cornerfolds)
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015

I don't remember exactly when I first took notice of The Mirk and Midnight Hour. But you know how you see a car you really like and then you see it everywhere? That's what happened with this book. I wasn't sold on the description because I'm not big on historical fiction... It's also a retelling, which is one of my favorite things ever, but I'd never heard of the fairy tale it's based on. But once I saw the cover I kept seeing it EVERYWHERE! Finally, I just gave in and decided to give it a list
Jessie Beck
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this book on the recommendation from my library's digital collection "Books you may also like" section. This book was okay. I love historical fiction, I have an obsession with the Voodon/ Voodoo/ Hoodoo culture, so I mean the topics were spot on.

It's an okay book. I don't think it was as thrilling as I'd hoped. The romance was a little hokey, but overall it was a decent story to pass the time.

Be forewarned that it is a slow mover. I think it took me until the last 50 pages to actually get
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Okay, so I actually really liked about 2/3 of this book. The very, very beginning (the opening in the first chapter) was somewhat disturbing (it was at a military hospital) but while there were a few little things that popped up here and there, for the biggest chunk of the book I liked the story quite a bit- especially the parts with Violet's cousin Seely :) However, the last few chapters really went downhill for me. Voodoo has always really freaked me out and I can't help but feel a little sick ...more
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For many years Jane Nickerson and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she was also the children’s librarian. She has always loved the South, “the olden days,” gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. After a few years in Ontario, Canada, Jane and her husband have returned to Mississippi where Jane lives in a little old house and writes, mostly ...more

Other books in the series

Strands (3 books)
  • Strands of Bronze and Gold
  • A Place of Stone and Shadow
“It may take a year ... or two ... but it will happen. The war will end, and we'll never again be apart.
And so, adieu, my love.

Your very own,
Violet Aurelia Dancey”
More quotes…