Staff Review by Lauren
From the very first time I heard about it the concept behind the Dark Glass novels fascinated me. Each of the Dark Glass novels features a young woman at a crossroads, facing a single choice with three possible outcomes. Her moment of need provokes the appearance of an enchanted triptych mirror and the young witch whose power lives within it – the mirror will show the woman the consequences of her choice, three times over, and leave her to decide which fate is right for her.
What an idea. Would it be tiresome, to read the same story over and over and over again? Would I find myself reading through gruesome, horrible choices? Would there be one clear, obvious path that I could only hope the main character was wise enough to see? Will the mirror deceive her? If she’s lived out the same choice three times already won’t she know what to change, how to stop the bad things and how to manipulate the good?
Well – the spectacular Barb Hendee took care of all of that and more. In Through a Dark Glass, the first of the Dark Glass novels, Hendee introduces us to Megan of Chaumont and the Volodane family, Lord Jarrod and his sons Rolf, Sebastian, and Kai. Megan is unexpectedly forced to marry into the uncultured, untitled, nouveau riche family, and her only say in the matter is a choice of husbands between the three sons. In their introduction they are all equally horrifying choices – Rolf entitled and brutish, Sebastian sly and dangerous, Kai angry and volatile. But in each unfolding choice Hendee fleshes out the Volodanes and Megan as complex, fascinating, and wonderful characters.
I never got tired of reading the same story, because it was never the same. Fixed points in the plot existed across all three repetitions, of course, but they played out differently every time. Megan’s growth from a timid young woman to the confident Lady of the house varied depending on her relationships within the family – seemingly inconsequential conversations in one choice proved to be essential in the next. I fell in love with each of the characters in a different way, for different reasons, over the course of each lifetime.
The best part, for me, was getting to the end and having no idea which brother Megan would choose. I knew which one I wanted her to choose – I read enough to know how to spot a good ship when I see one – but I enjoyed each brother so thoroughly, and embraced the lives Megan built for herself in each timeline. I was genuinely invested in her choice and that, more than anything else, sold the book for me. Through a Dark Glass was a five-star read, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the Dark Glass novels!
On her seventeenth birthday, Megan of Chaumont discovers she’ll be sold as a bride to the brutish Volodane family—within hours. Her father grants only that she may choose which one of the ruthless, grasping lord's three sons she weds:
Rolf, the eldest: stern, ambitious, and loyal?
Sebastian, the second son: sympathetic, sly, and rebellious?
Or Kai, the youngest: bitter, brooding, and proud?
As shy, horrified Megan flees the welcome dinner for her in-laws-to-be, she finds an enchanted mirror that will display how her life unrolls with each man, as if she were living it out in a breath. But there is no smooth “happily ever after” in her choices.
Deaths and honors, joys and agonies, intrigues and escapes await her in a remote, ramshackle keep, where these rough but complex men reveal one side and then another of their jagged characters—and bring forth new aspects of Megan, too. But the decisions of one teenaged marriage-pawn reverberate much farther than any of them have guessed . . .
Through A Dark Glass
New York Times bestselling author Barb Hendee spins a tale of castles and assassins, ambition and envy, toil and desire, as one woman lives out three very different lives . . .