The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson is an enchanting and suspenseful tale based on the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin. The Mirk and Midnight Hour is set in Civil War Mississippi, where 17-year-old Violet Dancey is trying to adjust to her father’s remarriage and her twin brother’s death. Then, she finds a wounded Union soldier in an abandoned cabin in the woods, and her life becomes even more complicated. She knows that he is an enemy, but she tries to help him. However, she soon finds out that some other mysterious person or people have been keeping him alive for magical, and perhaps evil, purposes. Violet must somehow find a way to protect her family and the soldier from dangerous magical powers.
I found The Mirk and Midnight Hour to be at once compelling, thrilling, and satisfying. It was full of lush, vivid details and characters that you really like and feel for. There was very good character development, and I grew to understand the characters more as the book progressed. I thought it was a masterfully crafted plot and liked the author’s way of basing it on the ballad of Tam Lin. I will eagerly await any other tales by Jane Nickerson!