Review: The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman's latest novel is a beautiful testimony to the power books have to change lives. Mia Jacob has been raised in a cult, a commune run by her cruel and controlling stepfather. Fifteen year old Mia's life changes unexpectedly one day when she discovers the local library. There, Mia finds a copy of The Scarlett Letter and notices a surprising parallel between Hawthorne's beloved story and that of her mother--a young woman who was cast out of her home due to an unplanned pregnancy. Intrigued by how Hawthorne could have told a story that is so similar, Mia begins to spend more and more time at the library, an action that will eventually see her cast out of the cult and into the arms of a loving adoptive family--Constance and Sarah who do all they can to protect her from Joel, the cult's unhinged leader. When tragedy strikes, Mia finds herself making a wish ... one that has very unexpected results.

Heartbreaking and filled with magical realism, The Invisible Hour is an intriguing read from start to finish. I'm always interested in hearing stories of those who flee from various cults or oppressive communities and Mia was someone who I could most definitely cheer for, whilst fully understanding why her mother made the choices that she did. In Sarah and Constance Hoffman has created a beautiful chosen family for Mia and I love that Mia followed in their footsteps and became a librarian when she grew up. Even though I was expecting a twist of some sort, the time travel part of the story still took me by surprise albeit pleasantly. It was interesting to see the way Hoffman brought a beloved author to life. The ending is absolutely fitting.

Overall, a beautiful read especially for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider and found comfort in books.

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC of The Invisible Hour. 


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