The Midnight Clock

A compelling genre-bending read, incorporating a whodunnit, romantic entanglements, family upheavals, abusive relationships, friendship, mental health, and social progress. These themes are explored through a time-slip narrative, a plot device that allows the present to be commented on by the past.

Sixteen-year-old Millie’s parents have recently split up. Her fraught mother has extended her holiday abroad so Millie is forced to go and stay with her father whose girlfriend is simultaneously moving in. Millie’s present is unstable, and she is largely powerless to change her circumstances, as is the case for other female characters that she encounters when a clock in her apartment building catapults her back to 1955. Annie Driscoll is to be hanged for a murder she didn’t commit, Annie’s mother Rose has been victimised by her current and former husband, and we learn that Annie’s older sister, whom Annie is accused of killing, endured a terrible secret that her community was complicit in concealing.

This book is a page-turner, with short chapters that make it appealing for those who are daunted by lengthy chapters or chapter-free books. The author is adept at making the reader want to keep going as there are mysteries aplenty. How cultural norms have changed, and the similarities and contrasts between 1950s Britain and contemporary Britain, elevate this novel beyond just being a good story.

Be aware that sensitive issues including sexual abuse and domestic violence are addressed, making this book suitable for older teenagers only.

Book Cover – The Midnight Clock
Publisher
Reviewer
Publication Date
March 2024
Format
Paperback
Pages
400
ISBN
9780349003924