The Hour Before Dawn

The Hour Before Dawn

About the book

A rich, multi-generational saga, set in Singapore and New Zealand. The mysterious disappearance of a young child sets in motion a series of events that will haunt future generations of the family.

Singapore in the 1970s. A handsome army officer falls in love with the young daughter of his captain. Although she is determined to become a ballerina, Fleur falls deeply for David and abandons her aspirations to become an army wife and mother. After their first blissfully happy years together, tragedy strikes and Fleur is left widowed with her young twin daughters, Nikki and Saffie. Grief-stricken, she prepares to take her daughters back to England – and then one of them mysteriously vanishes, without a trace.

New Zealand, present day. Nikki Montrose, pregnant, is still haunted by the disappearance of her twin sister. Unable to reconcile with her mother, the ghosts of the past haunt her dreams. Fleur’s impending visit forces her to confront her fears. Then when her mother goes missing en route, Nikki must journey to Singapore and attempt a reconciliation. But what they discover back in Port Dickson will send shockwaves through the entire family.

Sara MacDonald has written another rich, absorbing family saga which will appeal to all fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Anita Shreve.


‘Intriguing and thoroughly readable’ Woman

A note about ‘The Hour Before Dawn’ from the author

“I was in New Zealand visiting my son. Exhausted after writing a long book I had no idea what I was going to write next. I was staying in a little cabin in my son’s garden in the Bay of Islands when he introduced me to the work of Austrian artist and architect, Hundertwasser who had once lived in NZ. His unusual ecological buildings and paintings intrigued me. One painting particularly fascinated me. The Garden of The Happy Dead.

In it Hundertwasser depicts an ecological burial method. The dead are buried in harmony with nature and creation that will go on reproducing. No more cemeteries. Trees grow out of the people in the ground. There are no dead, only life, which constantly renews itself in a cycle of death and re-birth.

I am a twin, though not identical, and I also wanted to write about the often mystical closeness of twins..

I travelled back to Malaysia in order to trace the rest houses on the beach at Port Dickson where we had stayed as an army family when my sons were small. My son and his wife were trying to tame a huge and beautiful garden in New Zealand. Everything came organically together to make this book.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
ISBN 978-0-00-719429-2

Buy this book online >

Follow Sara