Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Book Review: The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

 Book Review

The Invisible Hour 

 Alice Hoffman

Book Description:

One brilliant June day when Mia Jacob can no longer see a way to survive, the power of words saves her. The Scarlet Letter was written almost two hundred years earlier, but it seems to tell the story of Mia’s mother, Ivy, and their life inside the Community—an oppressive cult in western Massachusetts where contact with the outside world is forbidden, and books are considered evil. But how could this be? How could Nathaniel Hawthorne have so perfectly captured the pain and loss that Mia carries inside her?

Through a journey of heartbreak, love, and time, Mia must abandon the rules she was raised with at the Community. As she does, she realizes that reading can transport you to other worlds or bring them to you, and that readers and writers affect one another in mysterious ways. She learns that time is more fluid than she can imagine, and that love is stronger than any chains that bind you.

As a girl Mia fell in love with a book. Now as a young woman she falls in love with a brilliant writer as she makes her way back in time. But what if Nathaniel Hawthorne never wrote 
The Scarlet Letter? And what if Mia Jacob never found it on the day she planned to die?

Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”

This is the story of one woman’s dream. For a little while it came true.



My 5-Star Review:

I will preface this by stating that I love everything Alice Hoffman writes – so therefore I am biased. She has such a beautiful writing style and writes stories so vivid, you can see them playing out like a movie in your mind. The Invisible Hour is no exception.

A young woman, Ivy, finds herself pregnant and escapes her parents’ home and joins a cult in western Massachusetts. At first, she enjoys the simpler way of life. One of the rules is that no one can own books or teach the children to read, something that Ivy has trouble following. The cult’s leader, Joel, falls in love with Ivy and they marry. He accepts her child, Mia, as his own. But as time goes by, Ivy finds the rules of the cult stifling and breaks them by teaching Mia to read and allowing her to hide away books so she can read them.

As she grows up, Mia begins to sneak into town to go to the library so she can read books. She comes upon an old copy of Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and is shocked to see an inscription in it written to “Mia.”

Mia finally escapes the cult and goes to live with the librarian she’s befriended and makes a new life for herself. But she continues to be obsessed with The Scarlet Letter, and its writer, Hawthorne. She is also fearful of Joel, because he continues to track her down no matter where she goes.

There is so much more to this imaginative story and I don’t want to ruin the entire plot by giving it away. It is a truly unique story with well-rounded characters and a beautifully written storyline. A must read for those who love the imagination of Alice Hoffman.

Buy now on Amazon


About the Author

Alice Hoffman is the author of thirty works of fiction, including Practical Magic, The Dovekeepers, Magic Lessons, and, most recently, The Book of Magic. She lives in Boston. Her new novel, The Invisible Hour, is forthcoming in August 2023. Visit her website: www.alicehoffman.com



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