The Glass of Time

A Story of Murder, Love,
and Revenge in Victorian England

In the autumn of 1876, nineteen-year-old orphan Esperanza Gorst arrives at the great county house of Evenwood in Northamptonshire. There she will serve as the new lady's maid to the former Emily Carteret, now Lady Tansor. But Esperanza is no ordinary servent. She has been sent by her guardian, the mysterious Madame de l'Orme, to uncover the secrets that her new mistress has sought to conceal — and to set right a past injustice in which her own life is intertwined. Unable to espace the reverberations of past misdeeds, Lady Tansor finds herself desperate to keep Esperanza from learning dark, dangerous truths.


I’d been accumulating material for my first novel, The Meaning of Night, for over thirty years, and had always vaguely envisaged a connected trilogy of stories chronicling the tangled saga of the Duport inheritance through to the early years of the twentieth century.

Encouraged by the reception of The Meaning of Night — over twenty foreign-language editions, dozens of positive reviews from both professionals and ordinary readers, and shortlist nominations for both the Costa and Galaxy book awards — I began a sequel, eventually titled The Glass of Time, in the spring of 2006, soon after finishing The Meaning of Night. I completed the first draft in the autumn of 2007 — a period that coincided with the gradual deterioration of my remaining eyesight.

Like The Meaning of Night, The Glass of Time is concerned with the nature of identity, the enduring power of the past, and the corrosive effects of concealing guilty secrets.

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A Note from the Narrator

A Note to the Reader from Miss Esperanza Gorst:

Lady Tansor. Purseus Duport. Randolph Duport.

These three persons have become the principal and constant objects of my attention in this house, to which I have been sent for reasons that — at the time of which I am writing — have not been fully revealed to me. Thus I continue to wait, and watch, as I have been instructed to do.

Two months ago, my ward, Madame de l’Orme, had come to my room as I was about to retire for the night.

‘I have something to tell you, dear child. You are to go to England — not quite yet, but soon, when certain matters have been arranged — to begin a new life.’

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