Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: Eleventh Hour
AUTHOR: Elin Gregory
PUBLISHER: Manifold Press
LENGTH: 248 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2016
Borrowed from the Secret Intelligence Service cipher department to assist Briers Allerdale – a field agent returning to 1920s London with news of a dangerous anarchist plot – Miles Siward moves into a ‘couples only’ boarding house, posing as Allerdale’s ‘wife’. Miles relishes the opportunity to allow his alter ego, Millie, to spread her wings but if Miles wants the other agent’s respect he can never betray how much he enjoys being Millie nor how attractive he finds Allerdale.
Pursuing a ruthless enemy who wants to throw Europe back into the horrors of the Great War, Briers and Miles are helped and hindered by nosy landladies, water board officials, suave gentlemen representing foreign powers and their own increasing attraction to each other.
Will they catch their quarry? Will they find love? Could they hope for both?
The clock is ticking.
I first came across this book as I was trying to find something new to read; I thought the blurb sounded interesting and I enjoy Historical stories so I decided to put it on my maybe pile and continued looking at other books. As the search went on, however, my mind kept going back to this book, over and over again; there was just something about it that I couldn’t let go of so I took it as a sign and decided this would by my next read. Obviously my subconscious knew something I didn’t and I should listen to it more often!
Eleventh Hour was a wonderfully crafted example of what a good Historical novel, not set in the 1800s, should be. The setting was fantastic and I really enjoyed how the author added in little details that added that extra bit of realism to the overall experience. Both main characters were also really well developed and I loved them both. Miles though…oh man, Miles just stole the show. Being gay in a time where it could land you, at the very least, in prison is hard enough but add in the fact that Miles sometimes likes to be Millie…well. Poor Miles was already looked down upon by other agents for his lack of field experience but when you add in the assignments where he has to dress and pass himself off as female, he obviously isn’t winning any ‘manliness’ points with anyone else. Miles finds a kind of freedom as Millie, who is outspoken where Miles is timid, and though he can’t let anyone know his true feelings, he actually looks forward to the times where he’s out and about in a skirt instead of pants.
The story and plot were both really well done and I enjoyed every bit of it. The events in the book were crafted beautifully and I was figuring things out right alongside Miles and Briers instead of knowing the answers ahead of time. By the end of the book, I had been treated to a highly entertaining story with well developed characters and was privy to acts of bravery that would be impressive if done today, let alone in the setting the story takes place in. If you enjoy historical novels but would like something a little less Victorian and a little more modern, you really need to check this one out! This was a great book to introduce me to this author but it certainly won’t be the last I read. 🙂