16 March 2015

Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

4 stars, but not recommended

Having survived the Indian mutiny of 1858 which killed her parents, Miss Rebecca Ravenshaw returns to her family home in England only to discover that the property has been awarded to a distant relative … and that she is the second Miss Rebecca Ravenshaw who has arrived to claim the property.

She comes to an agreement with Captain Whitfield, who generously allows her to stay in the house until her claim can be proved—or disproved. Rebecca knows who she is, so this leaves a mystery: who was the imposter, and how did she know so much about the Ravenshaw family that she was able to pass herself off as Rebecca. How did she die … and is Rebecca safe in this strange environment where she has no friends?

I liked Rebecca. Growing up as a missionary child in India meant she wasn’t as sheltered or na├»ve as many ladies, although she still managed to make a couple of errors of judgement (virtually compulsory for gothic romance). The story is written entirely in the first person, something I’m seeing more and more of in historical fiction. I know some readers don’t like first person, but I do, and Rebecca is a sufficiently strong character that she can carry the story.

My complaint with Mist of Midnight is an issue of basic theology (which, for Christian fiction, is a pretty big complaint). Romans 5:8 (NIV) says:
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God didn’t wait for us to repent and confess our sins in order to forgive us: He died first, in the hope we would repent and ask for forgiveness. This is also illustrated by Jesus when He tells the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), where the father forgives the son before the son repents and asks forgiveness.

Yet in Mist of Midnight, Rebecca says, “Scripture requires repentance before forgiveness can be offered.” I disagree, and while this doesn’t affect the story and didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story (which I enjoyed a lot), it misrepresents the gospel in a way that would make me uncomfortable recommending this book, especially to a non-Christian.

What do you think?


  1. Good point, which I agree must be given. Does sound like an interesting novel.

  2. I'm looking forward to reading this book. England and the Gothic novel are fascinating subjects.

    As for the theology I would have to agree with Sandra on this. If Christ already has forgiven us then what is the point in hell or even having a relationship with God? If He's already forgiven us without us asking then that would make everyone a Christian and nobody sinners. We would all automatically be going to Heaven at birth. In the prodigal son story the father let him leave. Therefore, the son lost his place in the family. He only was able to reclaim that place when he asked and came back.

    Please don't put me on your bad list for disagreeing with you on this. I still love reading your blog and enjoy all these great posts and author support. :)