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The Shadow in the Glass

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  178 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: May 4th 2021 by HarperVoyager (first published March 18th 2021)
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Andover Library Having read it I'd say its adult. Dark fantasy tipping towards horror at points. …moreHaving read it I'd say its adult. Dark fantasy tipping towards horror at points. (less)

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Schizanthus Nerd
‘I’d like to propose a bargain. I will offer you seven wishes. Whatever you ask for, I shall grant you. There are few limits.’
In this dark retelling, Eleanor is our Cinderella. After the death of her parents she was cared for by Mrs Pembroke, who Eleanor remembers fondly. It’s been three years since Mrs Pembroke’s death and in that time Eleanor’s once soft hands have reddened and cracked, the result of her new role as one of Mr Pembroke’s housemaids.

Eleanor’s life is a daily struggle; her bod
rose ✨
“eleanor tried to be good, she tried to be kind, but she wanted so many things that she could feel them gnawing at her from the inside.”

cinderella meets doctor faustus—or, you know, reads doctor faustus and accidentally summons a demon who offers her seven wishes in exchange for her soul.

the shadow in the glass is a dark, addictive reimagining of the cinderella story set in victorian england. it starts slowly and meanders at a few points in the first half, but the tension escalates beautiful
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
For me, the ability to make a reader feel all the emotions felt by the protagonist - the hatred, the betrayal, the pain, the love - is a sign of a great writer. Harwood truly immerses the reader in this society where women truly are treated as disposable prey. The third-person narrative really helps you understand the thoughts within Ella's head, and I loved being in it. As a character, she's so well-written - the perfect example of a flawed teenager who wants nothing more than to escape the lif ...more
Catherine Moller
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is tense, gothic, and so, so creepy. The beginning takes its time warming up, but by the end its a breathless race (both literally and emotionally). Harwood does an amazing job of bringing Victorian London to vivid life through her gorgeous prose. A super riveting read that just got more and more tense as it went on.
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Available 3/18/2021

"Fetching the first lot of water was always the worst part of Eleanor's morning...the pump made a horrible sucking noise and spat water all over her skirts". When she was sent to the butcher for the master's mutton, "A hand reached for her purse-she slapped it away. Another hand reached for her bottom." The streets of Marylebone, in nineteenth century Victorian England, were teeming with fruit-sellers, crossing-sweepers, omnibuses and carriages. There was poverty, homelessness
Nicole (Half Wild Books)
I received a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

The Shadow in the Glass takes the readers to and dark and dangerous London, where society is full of monsters. Ella has lost her status, and when a demon strikes a bargain with her, Ella seizes the opportunity to gain power.

Hardwood explores a young woman’s descent into greed. At first, Ella wants to help those around her, but that need slowly catalyses into hunger. She wants an advantage; she wants her world back. But these
Rebecca Rouillard
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Cinderella has been retold in many formats over the years, but 'The Shadow in the Glass' is a particularly gothic and sinister version of the fairy tale.

When the mistress of the house dies, Ella falls from her privileged position as ward to lowly housemaid, at the mercy of the lecherous widower, Mr Pembroke. Ella is desperate to do anything to change her circumstances—so when a dark sorceress offers her seven wishes in exchange for her soul, she makes the deal. But each wish has a price and Ell
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Today is my spot on the blogtour for ᴛʜᴇ 𝐒𝐇𝐀𝐃𝐎𝐖 ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ 𝐆𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐒 by JJA Harwood.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for having me along for the tour of this fantastic fairytale retelling.
𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐮𝐩 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐚𝐦𝐩. 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐫'𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐛𝐚𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐍𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐭.
I loved this retelling of the classic Cinderella fairytale. The protagonist Eleanor (Ella for short) is
’Wishes were supposed to be nice things. They were granted by smiling fairy godmothers and left everyone living happily ever after. They couldn’t leave her like this – lost in horror and disgust that was deep enough to drown in.’

Eleanor “Ella” Rose Hartley was once a little girl going on a young lady of society. However, this all came crumbling down, when her charge Mrs Pembroke suddenly died. Now Ella is forced to work for the House in which she once held higher standing; working long and hard
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood is a dark gothic retelling of Cinderella.
After her parents died Eleanor was taken by Mrs Pembroke to live at Gainsborough House. They treated her like their own daughter. They also have a son called Charles. But when Mrs Pembroke dies, Eleanor’s life changes and is set to work as a maid under the lecherous eyes of her once stepfather Mr Pembroke. Who has a reputation as force himself on his pretty maids and dispose of them when they become with child and to
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
1.5 star
Such a dissapointment for a cinderella retelling. I swear to god the female mc was stupid.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
I give this book 2.5 stars. Once again the tagline "A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern." set it up for disappointment. I am a huge fan of Erin Morgenstern, and this book is just different than that. Much more Gothic, dark and destitute. Erin's work always has bright spots and light.

A very dark retelling of Cinderella, Ella (Eleanor) after losing her mother is taken in by a wealthy family, but after the woman of the house dies
Mar 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
An extremely dissatisfying book. A ridiculous bargain, an even more ridiculous love story. By the end of the story I wanted everyone to die including the protagonist and her love interest.

This is supposed to be a dark, gothic Cinderella retelling. It is one, I suppose - a boring one! But I admit the twist was cool.

Everyone blushes a bit too much in this book. The housemaids blush, the protagonist blushes, her lover blushes, the chair, table, windows....everything blushes!

*I received an eARC in
MaryannC. Book Freak
What if you were granted 7 wishes to do as you please by a woman who is sort of like a godmother? You would probably be so excited and would want the best kinds of things, right? Well, this is what happens in this new take based on the classic Cinderella of a young woman who is granted 7 wonderful wishes but sometimes what she wishes for doesn't necessarily have the best outcome.

Ella is a hardworking servant in Granborough House where she was once a ward of sorts to the Pembroke family after her
Sarah Connor
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a genuinely unsettling book. I'm still thinking about it a few days after finishing it. I guess the fact that the protagonist is Ella, once a "daughter" of the house, now a housemaid, puts us in Cinderella territory. Ella is frightened, neglected, put upon, exploited - and then she meets a strange woman who offers to make all her wishes come true.

It's too good to be true. Obviously. But the story that follows is dark and twisty and disturbing. It left me wondering about the nature of go
Thanks to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read and review this book

DNF at 28%

Woa, talk about a misleading blurb... This book is so not what I expected it to be when I requested it. I am so sorry to give up on it because judging only by the 28% I have read the writing is quite good and Ella makes a great main character, but I thought this was going to be a fairytale with a twist, and instead I got a dark, gothic novel with no less than 5 trigger warnings so far, includi
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Words can’t describe how much I enjoyed this book. Ella has fallen on hard times after loosing her parents, she was taken in by Mrs Pembroke and her husband, but then Mrs Pembroke passes away and Ella becomes a maid for the hard faced Mr Pembroke. She wishes for a better life.. she looses herself in books, sneaking into the library at night whilst everyone is sleeping. She then comes across a book she’s never seen before, and a shadow of a woman comes in view offering her seven wishes.. Ella thi ...more
Patty (IheartYA311)
This book started off strong but slowly lost footing. I enjoyed the writing and the characters but the plot had pacing issues. The book felt too long. Definitely an interesting story worth reading, and an author to watch. Thank you to NetGalley for granting a free copy.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This dark, chilling fairy tale is about a young servant called Ella who dreams of a better life. However, she's stuck in a poorly paid job with a cruel master, and it looks like she has no way out - until a mysterious woman appears to her one night and offers her seven wishes in exchange for her soul. Ella is just desperate enough to agree, but of course she finds out that the wishes granted get her into more and more trouble.

'The Shadow in the Glass' is richly atmospheric story which brings the
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a unique, twisted and gothic fairytale retelling i desperately needed in my life and i give it 3.5 stars. I devoured the entire thing in a day so massive thanks to NetGalley and HarperVoyager for granting my wish to allow me an early review copy.

Plot summary:
Ella has gone from lady in training to Maid within her household where the male owner is her lecherous stepfather. Her only salvation is burning candles and sneaking into the library to escape into the world of a book.

One night her
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood is an excellent novel that has it all: historical fiction, suspense, mystery, fantasy, fairy tale elements, and kept me enthralled throughout.

I really, really enjoyed this story. At first one thinks it is purely a fantasy novel, but gorgeous cover aside, there is so much more.

Yes there is an element of the fairy tale of Cinderella, but that is where the comparison stops. This has a much more real, dark, heavy, and Victorian element to it. The grit and grime
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Harwood's chilling debut infuses the classic Cinderella story with a layered, sensual, and embittered flavour — and transforms it into a more humane story where passion, desperation, and desires run high and happily-ever-after is not without cost.

The Shadow in the Glass promised a dark retelling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella that would appeal to fans of Erin Morgenstern, and to be frank these were the only reasons I had wanted to pick this book up. Not exactly the combination I had expect
Kate A
Apr 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-reads
I feel I should start by noting that I have tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible but I have lots of opinions on it so just be warned that there may be a few things that slip through the cracks.

As soon as I hear retelling I’m usually sold on a book and I have to admit that for the first part of this book I was, based on Cinderella but much darker and in a wonderfully gothic setting, the kind that I could feel leaping off the page, I was quickly and easily drawn into Ella’s story.
Mar 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: on-kindle, arc
I want to thank Edelweiss and Harper Collins for a chance at reading this... depressing? yes, depressing book. I'm going to spoiler cut this because I talk about some triggering stuff right out of the park (tw: rape, abortion/miscarriage, abuse):

(view spoiler)
Queen Terrible Timy
This review was originally posted on Queen's Book Asylum!

Actual rating: 2.5*

“Eleanor couldn’t understand. The black-eyed woman had been sent to help her, hadn’t she? She was supposed to smile, and be kind, and tend Eleanor’s glorious future with a gentle hand. Instead, she had watered Eleanor’s hopes with blood, and now they had grown into twisted, monstrous things. How could she have done something like this?”

When I started reading The Shadow in the Glass, I had no expectations whatsoever. Whic
Melissa Young
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This review was posted at Young Creative Press if you like this review check out my other reviews at

*I was given an arc of The Shadow in the Glass in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Harper Collins and JJA Harwood*

Rating: 3.5/5

CW: alcoholism, drug use, miscarriage, abortion, sexual assault, descriptions of violence, murder and death.

Eleanor or as she is called by some Ella is a maid for the man she once called stepfather. After the death of her mother when she
Lottie (The Disney Bookworm)
The Shadow in the Glass is possibly the darkest retelling I have read to date. It certainly earns it’s gothic depiction, that’s for sure!
Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for giving me the opportunity to review this advanced copy.

Eleanor is a young girl who has lost both parents but is treated like a daughter by her mother’s friend and wealthy woman, Mrs Pembroke. However, upon Mrs Pembroke’s death, Eleanor is expected to work for her guardian Mr Pembroke, and slowly finds herself as El
I hadn’t heard about The Shadow in the Glass until I saw someone post about the stunning Goldsboro edition of this book. Seeing as I am a sucker for pretty books, I simply had to have it and read it. Ofcourse at the time, the Goldsboro GSFF subscription was sold out and this book got simply pushed onto my never ending “Want to read”-shelf here on Goodreads. Realisticly, I don’t think I would’ve picked it up myself, but then came the email from Goldsboro saying that I was offered a GSFF spot for ...more
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thanks to HarperCollins UK for a review copy.

The Shadow in the Glass may be a new spin on a well known fairy tale but this is most definitely not a book for children.

The basis for the story is Cinderella, here Eleanor (known as Ella) has found herself working as a housemaid in her guardian’s home after his wife, who took her in and treated her like a daughter, passes away. Ella’s life is undignified and the house in which she works and which once would have been her home, is decaying around her
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JJA Harwood is an author, editor and blogger. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields.

When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats. TH

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