By Ami McKay
Buy from Indigo
Description: The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft...
The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients.
All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?
Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.
As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?
The Good Stuff
- Witches, ghost, women's rights, 1880's New York, what is not to love
- The mood of the story is marvelous, I felt like I was right there. A perfect book for reading tucked under a fluffy blanket on a cool fall night
- The heroines are marvelous. Likable, flawed and I felt a real connection to them (Ok and I sorta wish I could be a witch)
- Her writing is absolutely exquisite and haunting. I felt transported right into the time
- I am very intrigued by Adelaide and have already ordered The Virgin Cure in order to learn more
- I want the tea shop to be real and I want to go there, To hang around with like minded women - I think in this day and age we are missing this kind of community of support
- History interwoven with witchcraft inspires you to want to know more about what women went through during this era
- Just an exquisitely written tale that you can lose yourself in - and that my friends is such a wonderful thing
The Not So Good Stuff
- A bit jumpy at times and confusing at times - but keep in mind that I am still in the midst of moving into a new house, However, I felt like it was missing a cohesion of story
- I wanted more, I wanted everything tied up which is making me think McKay is going to write a sequel and if she doesn't I may be disappointed
"Time and progress had caused these unfortunate souls to be forgotten, but their restless echoes had lived on, rising up through the cobblestones and pavers, acting as ghostly ether, provoking fear and dark thoughts. This is what happens when the dead don't get their due. This is what happens when the past is ignored."
"The middle-aged doctor was far from being without sin, but he liked to (no, he needed) to feel that things he did and said and thought served to subtract from the overall chaos of the world. There was enough nonsense to go around these days without him adding to it."
"She'd never thought of writing as an act of defiance, but those two marks proved it to be so. Her need to leave something of herself was overwhelming. If she was to die here, she wouldn't let him forget she'd live,"
I received this from Penguin Random House in return for an honest review