Into the Darkness

Written by Kate Williams
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

The third volume of the Storms of War trilogy is set in the1920s through the brink of World War II in both New York and the protagonist Celia Witt’s crumbling English family manse, Stoneythorpe. In the New World, Celia and her brother Arthur try to mend the family fortunes with a scheme to sell jarred meals to young working women (Flapper Foods) and mend Celia’s broken heart at the loss of the infant son, Michael, taken from her many years before. Once the Depression sets in, Celia loses a brother to despair, but gains her son from his adoptive parents though the generosity of an old flame, Jonathan. Jonathan becomes a long-distance and long-suffering fiancé when Celia returns to England and her son is sucked into her very dysfunctional family. Michael disappears into a cult with his cousin Lily, to whom he is devoted. Celia and Michael’s birth father Tom spend years seeking them out.

With its nods to Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, and A Woman of Substance, I was hoping for a better novel. Into the Darkness presents a heroine that some readers might find exasperating. Both her incredibly undeserving family and Stoneythorpe have a Manderley-like hold on her. Her mother-love is engaging, but as the keeper of her family’s secrets, Celia is dim, passive, and constantly being swayed towards the will of others.