Vienna c.1905. In darkness, late at night, a woman returns to her hotel to discover her usual maid has been replaced by a stranger. What begins as an icy exchange, born of weariness, becomes within minutes one of the most extraordinary encounters of her life. It will take her on a journey deep into her past and yet also closer, hour by hour, to a fateful assignation awaiting her on the other side of the night. Set amid the elegance and sophistication of the Belle Epoque, and the Gothic splendour of late Victorian England, ‘The Hours Before’ is a story of drama and mystery, revealing a hidden world of vice and malevolence – but also a pathway of transformation and knowledge.
“An awesome Gothic Victorian tale … that will keep you engaged from the first page until the end.” Charla Wilson, Book Talk with Charla
“There is plenty of action and a fair smattering of terror together with the romance and beauty ever-present in Mr Parry’s work. It is with great pleasure that I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you.” Kirsty Stonell Walker, author and biographer
“A Mysterious and exciting novel … I was hooked from the first page.” Stephanie Pina, the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood
“Will delight those who enjoy mannered characters, uncommon plots and a slight bit of mystery.” Arleigh Johnson, historical-fiction.com
● Historical, noir fiction from the closing years of the reign of Queen Victoria (or the Fin de Siècle - the end of the 19th century)
● Characters faced with moral conflicts, including the choice of forgiveness versus revenge; faith versus cynicism; order versus disorder, and genuine mystical experience versus the sensuality and temptations of cult worship.
● An atmosphere of romance, decadence and magical realism is set within a framework of traditional adventure and heroic questing.
● Further topics include female emancipation and self-determination; the rise of the ‘new woman,’ the popular press and London’s Fleet Street, and hidden forces of wealth, vice and manipulation.
● Gothic locations, including castles and mountains and the remote countryside of Scotland and central Europe, alongside late-Victorian London, Vienna, Paris and various cities in Germany.