book cover of The Golden Hour
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The Golden Hour

(2024)
A novel by

 
 
'What a sumptuous, evocative triumph of a novel!' Jenny Ashcroft

A picture can tell a thousand words. And hide as many secrets...

England, 1895: In the bustling seaside town of Brighton, Ellen Harper assists her brother running their photography studio, where fashionable ladies and gentlemen pose in all their finery. Behind the facade of a respectable business, the siblings hide a dark and shadowy secret. One that if exposed to the light of day could destroy them all.

When newly married
Clementine comes to sit for a portrait, Ellen learns she is looking for a lady's companion. Longing for a life of her own choosing and freedom from the deals her brother has made, Ellen accepts the post. The new position transports her to a sweeping white-fronted townhouse on one of Brighton's most prestigious crescents, full of every luxury imaginable.

But Clem's gilded world hides as much darkness as Ellen has hoped to escape. And what will happen when Clem discovers the truth about the young woman she has welcomed into her home?

Atmospheric, sensual and powerfully moving, The Golden Hour is a spellbinding portrait of women determined to find their freedom - perfect for fans of Sarah Waters, The Doll Factory and The Essex Serpent.

Praise for The Golden Hour:

'A
divine and sumptuous portrait of Victorian Brighton, written in gloriously seductive prose, I was enthralled' Amanda Geard, author of The Midnight House

'
A glorious and sumptuous feast for the senses and it drew me in from the start, wanting to find out more about these women's stories and their struggles for freedom and change. It's an absolute joy. I couldn't put it down' Rosanna Ley, author of The Orange Grove

'
A captivating panorama of late-Victorian Brighton... Beautifully atmospheric' Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife

'
I was hooked from the very beginning... The characters and the setting were all portrayed with such vivid colour and conviction' Suzanne Goldring, author of My Name is Eva

'
Luminous... Perfect for fans of Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry' Sean Lusk, author of The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Engrossed to the last page. The Golden Hour opens with a mystery and pulls the reader through a labyrinth of plot twists, its key character Ellen shining in her struggle to assert her right to define her own life and loves." - Natalie Meg Evans

"A compelling Sapphic novel in which subjugated women defy society's expectations . . . Atmospheric, dark, and daring." - Essie Fox

"An absorbing novel of secrets and survival that exposes darker aspects of Victorian life, as three women seek to defy societal conventions in order to determine their own destinies. A gutsy tale that is sure to please!" - Anita Frank

"A divine and sumptuous portrait of Victorian Brighton, written in gloriously seductive prose, I was enthralled. Jacquie Bloese writes so evocatively, truly drawing on all the senses. A stunning writer and such an absorbing novel." - Amanda Geard

"A delicious peep into the world of 'what the Butler saw', contrasting the drudgery of the steamy laundry with the sordid cigar smoke of the gentlemen's clubs. The characters and the setting were all portrayed with such vivid colour and conviction . . . there was also a strong element of defying the patriarchy, which resonates with issues today." - Suzanne Goldring

"The beautifully written The Golden Hour captures how these women's lives unravel at the mercy of their men. A passionate, enthralling and historically rich book. Hard to put down." - Georgia Kaufmann

"I adored it. It's a glorious and sumptuous feast for the senses and it drew me in from the start, wanting to find out more about these women's stories and their struggles for freedom and change. It's an absolute joy. I couldn't put it down." - Rosanna Ley

"The Golden Hour is luminous - a sensitive and moving portrayal of women caught up in the perilous world of erotic photography in late Victorian Brighton. Jacquie Bloese brings the period and characters vividly to life. Perfect for fans of Sarah Waters and Sarah Perry." - Sean Lusk

"A captivating panorama of late-Victorian Brighton, where beauty and seediness coexist in the shadowy alleyways behind the seafront. The story highlights the hypocrisy of a society where women are expected to be angels, while the men think nothing of buying titillating photographs for their private entertainment. All the characters are vividly drawn . . . and the writing is beautifully atmospheric." - Gill Paul

"Compelling and beautifully drawn characters, an intriguing setting and tons of atmosphere - I felt I was right there, seeing, hearing and even smelling the sea in fin-de-siecle Brighton. I loved this book and want to read more by Jacquie Bloese." - Frances Quinn

"In The Golden Hour, Jacquie Bloese's pitch-perfect prose draws us powerfully into late Victorian Brighton, and the shadowy world of illicit photography. I loved this novel: its fascinating narrative, its strong themes of female empowerment, its mesmerising characters. It's a novel to be savoured, and I whole-heartedly recommend it." - Gill Thompson


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