In darkness, late at night, a woman returns to her hotel to discover her usual maid has been replaced by a stranger. What begins as an icy exchange, born of weariness, becomes within minutes one of the most extraordinary encounters of her life. It will take her on a journey deep into her past and towards the fateful assignation that already awaits her on the other side of the night.
Set amid the elegance and sophistication of the Belle Époque, and the Gothic splendour of late Victorian England, ‘The Hours Before’ is a story of drama, mystery and romance, revealing a hidden world of vice and malevolence – but also a pathway of transformation and knowledge.
Historical fiction from the closing years of the reign of Queen Victoria (or the Fin de Siècle - the end of the 19th century)
An ethos of romance, decadence and magical realism blends with themes of female emancipation (the rise of the ‘new woman’), adventure and heroic questing.
Characters faced with moral conflicts, including the choice of forgiveness versus revenge; faith versus cynicism; order versus disorder, and genuine mystical experience versus the temptations of cult worship.
Further topics include the popular press and London’s Fleet Street, and hidden forces of wealth, vice and manipulation.
Noir and Gothicsentiments with atmospheric locations, including castles and mountains and the remote countryside of Scotland and central Europe.
Urban settings include late-Victorian London, Vienna, Paris and various cities in Germany.
“An awesome Gothic Victorian tale … that will keep you engaged from the first page until the end.”
Charla Wilson, Book Talk with Charla
“Will delight those who enjoy mannered characters, uncommon plots and a slight bit of mystery.”
Arleigh Johnson, historical-fiction.com
“A Mysterious and exciting novel … I was hooked from the first page.”
Stephanie Pinathe Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood
“There is plenty of action and a fair smattering of terror together with the romance and beauty ever-present in Mr Parry’s work. It is with great pleasure that I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.”