Middle Grade Reviews

Review: The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

Review: The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder



A mysterious letter arrives at Emily’s house, and then her parents disappear. When a terrifying stranger turns up at her door, Emily goes in search of answers and finds the Midnight Hour – a Victorian London frozen in time which is home to all people magical.

What secrets have her parents kept about their connection to the Midnight Hour? With two worlds in danger, Emily will have to hurry if she is to save the day.



A fantasy adventure about a magical world threatened by a big bad antagonist. This story begins like many others. Emily believes she is an ordinary child until she discovers her parents have a connection to a hidden world. Personally, I don’t think these stories ever get old. Every new world and every set of characters bring their own unique magic to a tried and tested plot.

Like many other reviewers, I was spellbound by the worldbuilding and the backstory of the world. As science and reason became more prevalent in the 1800s, the magical community found itself under threat and needed shelter. Scientists and magicians worked together to build the Midnight Hour. This is why Big Ben was really built. I love it when children’s books offer fantastical explanations for ordinary things. This allows the readers to experience that sense of wonder outside the pages of the book. Next time I see Big Ben, I know I will be thinking of this story.

Emily is a feisty character with a reputation for having ‘the family gob’. I love heroines with attitude. Girls are often criticised quicker than boys for speaking out or pushing their own will, which is an imbalance we need to change. Headstrong girls in fiction encourage us to break away from tired ideas about nice girls and daring boys.

An adventure which will keep you awake and reading long after the clock strikes midnight. I look forward to reading more from this creative pair.


Thanks to Laura Smythe PR and Chicken House Books for my proof copy of The Midnight Hour. Opinions my own.

waiting on wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday: The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

Synopsis (from Chicken House Books):

midnight-hour-668x1024When Big Ben sounds the stroke of midnight, Emily’s parents vanish.

As an adventurous eleven year old, Emily packs her sandwiches and her hedgehog, Hoggin, and heads into the Midnight Hour. A Victorian London frozen in time, the Midnight Hour is a magical place of sanctuary and of peril dreamt up by children – and inhabited by monsters of legend, creatures of the imagination, and a Postal Service determined to save the day (and night!). To save her mum and dad, Emily must be brave enough to embrace her own inner magic …


Why I can’t wait to read The Midnight Hour:

  • The book began as a comic called Night Post about the postal service which comes to life on the stroke of midnight to deliver post to London’s less human inhabitants. Images from the comic have already sold the novel to me. Not only is it a work about ghosts and witches and monsters, the artwork perfectly captures that magic of the small hours, when anything and everything seems possible. 
  • Victorian London is a wonderful setting. Although it is well-covered there is always another alleyway to explore or building to visit. It is the perfect backdrop to stories with an underworld, stories of political power and class-division and stories about industry. 
  • A hedgehog companion. Enough said. 
  • The protagonist’s story is about self-belief and confidence. This character-arc goes so nicely with magic. Sometimes we find it difficult to recognise the magic inside ourselves. 
  • The Postal Service sounds intriguing. Are they are resistance movement? If so, what is the biggest threat to the world? Is the threat to the monsters or to the fabric of the world itself? 
  • The setting is dreamed up by children. I love stories about temporal worlds and can’t wait to find out how much influence the protagonist might have on her surroundings. Will she be able to change the setting with her own dreams? 


The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

Chicken House Books