Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: The Hour Before Dawn

The Hour before Dawn

The Hour Before Dawn is the fifth book in a series by Penelope Wilcock.  Last year, I reviewed the fourth book in the series, The Hardest Thing to Do.  I loved that book.  I read the first three books, which are compiled in a trilogy called The Hawk and the Dove.  I loved those books.  So, my expectations were pretty high for this new book.

In The Hour Before Dawn a tragedy befalls the family of Abbott John.  I wanted to say a "tragic tragedy" for emphasis but that would be redundant.  Anyway, it was a tragedy so great that it did more than take his breathe away.  The grief utterly paralyzed him.  "(This book) explores the aftermath of trauma- the space between suffering and restoration- helping readers understand the grieving process and nurture an attitude of understanding and kindness." (quote from back cover)

So what did I think?  Well, book reviews can be a tricky thing.  Am I trying to answer the question, "Is this a good book? or "Did I like the book?"  And, can I have a different answer for each question?

Penelope Wilcock is a talented writer.  And she has written a good book.  However, the tragedy described in the book was powerful and explicit.  I just couldn't get past it.  In the same way that Abbott John was immobilized by his grief, I was similarly immobilized by the shock of the tragedy described.  As I said, I couldn't get past the tragedy to really explore the restoration process as the author had intended.

So, was it a good book?  Well, yes,  it was well written.  Did I like it?  I'm sorry to say that I did not.

I received this book free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Ah ha, here you are. So nice to find you. I love to read, but I've been so random lately that I can't seem to concentrate on much of anything. I've got lots of books going at once right now, and I hate that. Usually I can just read one book at a time (sigh). Great review. I like your honest opinion and telling why. Often I will read a book after hearing such wonderful reviews and then hate the book myself, but keep with it to the bitter end hoping it gets better, and wondering why anyone liked it. lol

  2. Hi, Jane,

    I actually didn't finish the book. I never feel obligated to finish a book - no matter how people may rave about it. :-)