The Blue Hour

Written by Vicki Righettini
Review by Fiona Ness

Set in 1861, Emily Wainwright is a 26-year-old spinster at the center of Vicki Righettini’s debut novel, The Blue Hour. Emily is living a cloistered life in Springfield, Illinois, when she meets handsome and charismatic homesteader, Samuel Todd. He sweeps her off her feet and convinces her to move with him to Oregon to start a farm and a family.

Their life on the frontier turns into an ordeal for Emily, as her husband reveals himself to be a cold and controlling monster. In the wake of his death she drifts into a relationship with a good-natured farmhand named Cole, and the novel becomes an increasingly sensitive exploration of unexpected personal renewal.

All of Righettini’s characters are well-rounded, in particular Emily herself, whose personal growth throughout the novel is richly detailed and memorable.