Cover Image: Midnight Is the Darkest Hour

Midnight Is the Darkest Hour

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Member Reviews

I wanted so badly to love this book as I've adored everything else that Ashley Winstead has written. I thought the concept was creative and the setting totally lent itself to a thriller with cult undertones. The characters were fascinating and layered; no one was innocent and there was an interesting play on the importance of reliance on religion in small towns in the south that I was intrigued by. I do think this would make a really good book club book- there's so much to talk about and I'd love to connect with others to hear their thoughts (especially about the ending)!

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I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had to try think twice before I made it through. I just couldn’t get into the storyline. Ruth was so immature and backward. Some of it seemed so far fetched. I thought it was kind of predictable and I couldn’t really root for any of the characters. Also, the ending was so abrupt and unresolved.

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Had a great time reading this book. It was a little slow at first but worth pushing through because it picks up and the ending was great.

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I recently had the pleasure of diving into Midnight Is The Darkest Hour, a gripping thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The author's skillful storytelling and ability to create tension and suspense had me hooked from the very first page. The characters were well-developed, each with their own secrets and motivations, adding depth to the plot.

What I particularly enjoyed about Midnight Is The Darkest Hour was the unpredictable twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. The pacing was perfect, making it hard to put the book down once I started reading. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a thrilling ride filled with mystery and unexpected surprises. It's a must-read for fans of the genre!

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Thank you SO much to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

I absolutely loved this!! Such great characters and a great storyline.

My full review is to follow in a few days.....

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An atmospheric allegory, full of fire and brimstone., Midnight Is The Darkest Hour made me a believer in fan fic. I was immersed in the story to the point of actual, vivid nightmares!

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I thought this was just okay. This is not a fast-paced book. It’s meandering. sometimes interesting, sometimes not. There is a lot of darkness in this book which I usually enjoy, but not this time. By the last third of the book where it could have gotten exciting and suspenseful, I was becoming bored and wishing it was all just over. The ending was just okay.

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I think this is a great example of a title that is made for adults but would work well in a high school classroom. Nothing about it was too much, and I think that the romance aspect would definitely appeal to high schoolers! It wasn't my personal favorite, but I can definitely see how it would land well with some.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Receiving an advanced copy was a delightful surprise. I believe both existing fans and newcomers will find it equally enjoyable.

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Ruth Cornier is a preacher’s daughter in Bottom Springs, Louisiana. But her father isn’t just a leader of the religious community in her small town. He is believed to be the authority of God, and the God-fearing people follow him without question. Due to this power, Ruth is under a lot of pressure to be a “good” girl (despite being 23 years old) and live up to the expectations of the town. However, one night from her past comes back to haunt her when a skull is found deep in the swamp, with evidence showing a cause of death that can’t be dismissed as an alligator attack. Midnight is the Darkest Hour by Ashley Winstead is a psychological thriller in which Ruth must work with an old friend/accomplice to uncover the truth about the true evil lurking in their small town, or else face the consequences of her actions from years ago.

Ashley Winstead proves her talent for delivering gritty and haunting storylines in Midnight is the Darkest Hour. She uses Ruth’s story to call out the hypocrisy of religious fanatics and “wholesome values” on which parishioners pride themselves, not to mention the unfair and absurd expectations of women. Not only that, she pairs that with the relationship between two very different outcasts, who work together to uncover the evil truth lurking in their town and how far they have to go to take down those in power. Even though some romance is involved, it in no way distracts from the authentic bond between the unlikely duo and what’s at stake if they fail. In fact, Ruth discovers more about herself during this journey and realizes she and Everett are the only ones who can make things right.

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Ruth and Everett's lives were intertwined at seventeen, when a dark secret brought the two outcasts together. Six years later, Ruth works as a librarian in her home town, working small rebellions against her father, the town preacher. Everett has escaped the town, but is drawn back to Ruth each summer. This year, their secret will be revealed, dredging up all the other darkness that has been hidden in this small town.

This thriller had such an eerie atmosphere. I kept waiting for the hints at the supernatural to come to fruition. I wanted a bit more of that horror element to come through. I do get the comparison to Twilight fan fic, but hey, it works for me. You can see Ruth and Everett's connection so clearly. They definitely are soulmates. Whether or not they are good for each other is another question. Bottom Springs is a town well versed in hiding its darkness, and I enjoyed the slow reveal. And the action packed ending is really just icing on the cake that makes up this contemplative thriller.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The Southern Baptist church welcomes you. You'll feel the heat, the moisture in the air and the deep judgment for being "other".
I flew through this book, one of my favorites from Ashley Winstead. The feel of stormy weather surrounding you while angsty love tries to crawl out of the deeply rooted ground. I was immersed into this world immediately.
The references to a popular mid 2000's book series really had me feeling old but also relatable. I snuck that book into church to read before youth group.
It was one of my favorite reads in 2023!

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This was my most anticipated thriller release of the year, and while I didn’t love it like I loved Ashley Winstead’s first two thrillers (both 5 stars), I really enjoyed how dark and atmospheric it was and I appreciated how it tackles big topics such as religion and power dynamics. It’s so impressive to me how each thriller Ashley comes out with is day and night different from the last, and this is her most unique one yet.

No one is more shocked than I am that I didn’t absolutely love this 😭 this book moves quite a bit slower than I was expecting for a thriller, and I never really felt like it lived up to the thriller name. Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider this a thriller at all, but more of a dark coming of age story. I ended up not loving the characters, I wasn’t invested in what little mystery there was, I really didn’t like the romance aspect and found it cringey, the ending was a choice 🙃, and the Twilight references became a little too frequent for me personally. I also didn’t love how much religion was a central focus of the story, but I knew that I wouldn’t love that going into it.

I think my expectations were way off with this book and I’m so so sad that I didn’t love it, but what didn’t work for me may very well work for someone else. Not every book will work for everyone and that’s okay! Ashley is still one of my favorite authors and I’m still so beyond excited to see what she comes out with next ☺️

CW provided by the author: religious fundamentalism, substance abuse, ableism, colonialism, familial violence, sexual violence, child abuse, murder, + more

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Wow, I seriously didn't know what to expect from this book page to page. It kept me consistently on the edge of my seat and questioning everyone involved. I enjoyed reading about the dynamic and complex characters in the less than inviting community and their struggles to find happiness and survival. Overall, it was a fast and enjoyable read with a dark side to it that I found extremely entertaining.

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I personally did not like this book which was disappointing after really enjoying In My Dreams I Hold a Knife and The Last Housewife. I guess I can understand what this book was maybe trying to do? But it was certainly not well done and felt a little bit childish to me if I am being honest.

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Even though I gave this 4 stars-- I have to be honest & say that I was a bit disappointed. When reading an Ashley Winstead book I expect crazy twists & turns, a disturbing plot, & jaw dropping moments & I don't feel like this had any of that... ⁠

It was unique & I did love the small screwed up/culty town feel but it wasn't really a thriller for me. I kept waiting for something big or unexpected to happen & that moment just never came. The Twilight vibes were fun.. I just feel like there was something missing for me & it left me wanting more.

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Okay so I have to admit I didn’t love this one. I was a huge fan of the Twilight series back in the day, but I feel like that phase has passed. I wasn’t really expecting the book to go the way it did. It was kind of hard to get really invested into. I can definitely see where all the great reviews come from, just fell a bit flat for me.

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“Books were my refuge.”

“Of course I love you. It’s the only thing that’s ever redeemed me.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an early access copy for review!

I can’t honestly decide if I liked this one or not, so I’m going to rate it as a middle of the road kind of book at a 3. Which, is disappointing to me because I’ve been anticipating this read for so long, even if I didn’t review it in time first the release. I loved Ashley Winstead’s past two thrillers so I had a lot of hope for this one, and was unfortunately, let down.

The first 60% of this book was boring. There really didn’t feel like a lot was going on and we were just going through the day to day routine. The mystery of itself was well done and connected so many moving parts, but to get to the action took a lot of work. The characters were all meh as well. None really stood out to me.

Between both the main characters becoming unhinged and the over use of Twilight references, this book fell short. Honestly the Twilight references were too much at one point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Twilight fan, but not when it’s overused.

The ending was definitely jam packed and had me on the edge of my seat, but it took so long to get there that it almost lost the entire suspense and excitement for me.

Lots of trigger warnings in this one so be cautious.

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A dark, swampy atmosphere infuses the core of this book, which is set in the Louisiana bayou. There's the potential of a supernatural presence, and the book is marketed as horror. This does a disservice to the book, as those who are looking for a good atmospheric thriller will enjoy this one, and those who want a true horror book probably will not. Winstead makes many cultural references, both explicit and oblique. Most prominent, and definitely explicit, is the main character's obsession with the vampire in the Twilight series.

Ruth Collier is the Twilight-loving daughter of a fire and brimstone backwoods Southern preacher when she encounters her own version of evil in the bayou and is rescued by Everitt (Ever) Duncan, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. This is the beginning of a tight relationship, as the two misfits bond over their sense of otherness in their respective worlds. When a skull is found in the bayou, the two think back to the night they met and Ruth, in particular, is afraid of the consequences. The tension (both sexual and otherwise) between the two is ever-present as they conduct their own investigation into the bones. The suspicion harbored by the god-fearing townspeople and fueled by the antics of Ruth's father's sermons is dangerously focused on Ever because of his background. The backwoods superstitions about the "Low-Man," the local personification of evil, are increasingly aimed at Ever while Ruth tries to save him by fighting off the townspeople and her own father.

There's enough evil to go around in this town, and Winstead falls victim to various stereotypes in her plotting. Nonetheless, it felt gratifying for the town's outcasts to play both the villain and savior roles. The over-the-top ending suits the equally unrestrained world-building throughout the book. It will also call to mind a famous movie denouement from the early nineties.

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I really wanted to love this book, and I thought I would! But I just didn’t. Something about the story just didn’t click with me. I’m also not a fan of ambiguous endings, so that’s why I couldn’t rate it any higher. I LOVED The Last Housewife so I had high expectations for this book, but it just wasn’t for me

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