A moving story about the nature of love and redemption set amidst the worst of the London Blitz and the destruction of London’s hallowed seat of law, the Temple
Adam Falling is a failing, sick barrister married to Catherine but conducting an affair with the glamorous Julia, who happens to be the wife of his Head of Chambers, Jeremy Pemberton.
Julia, fearful of losing her children, suddenly ends the affair. But it is too late. Pemberton discovers it and Adam is kicked out of his home and his chambers. Unable to work without a chambers and facing ruin, salvation comes in the unlikely form of the brilliant barrister, Roland (“Roly”) Blytheway. Blythway, held back in his career because of his sexuality, befriends him and invites him to join his chambers at Lamb Building.
It is there he finds himself defending a Czech refugee, Tomas Novak, who has been accused of treason and who is facing the gallows and becomes mired in another contested divorce case for one Arnold Bateman, where he, on the recommendation of Pemberton, represents the co-respondent whilst Pemberton represents the petitioner – a piece of cruel psychological torture on the part of Pemberton.
Whilst the Blitz rages on around, can Adam save Novak from the gallows? Can he get Bateman off? Will he ever discover why Julia suddenly broke off their affair? Can he succeed in resisting Jeremy’s claims against him personally? He has been told that only one man can possibly save him and that man is Roland Blytheway.
At the Dark Hour is the story of ordinary people caught in the horror of war whilst the city is destroyed around them. It features many of the most notable real life events of the Blitz such as the bombing of the Café de Paris.
I love books set in this period so I am genuinely delighted to be able to say that I really enjoyed this one, it had a lovely writing style and it was a very easy story for me to read.
The story is well put together and it is quite evident from reading the book that the author certainly did his research and knows his stuff. Whilst it is a work of fiction it is great that he has managed to incorporate so many real life incidents from the Blitz period into the book and I think that made it even more enjoyable for me.
The book has excellent characterisation. Just be warned the book is a very lengthy read. 4.5 stars from me for this one, rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads and Amazon – I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend it to any fans of historical fiction works set during WWII
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Wigan, John Wilson is a QC at 1, Hare Court, London who was called to the Bar in 1981. He has written or contributed to a number of academic text books, written very many articles and is a published poet.
Wilson drew on his many years of experience of family law (and in the early days criminal law) and upon the misogyny and homophobia which were characteristic of the law at the time the novel is set.
When not working in London, Wilson spends as much of his time as possible in the South of France, where the novel was written, and travels extensively.