Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 328 pages
First Published: 2023
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Park Row through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In 1873, spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire has made quite the reputation for herself in Paris for conjuring the spirits of murder victims and revealing their killers. Although skeptical, Lenna Wickes has come to Vaudeline for answers to her sister’s death and agrees to become her assistant. When the pair travel to London to help solve a high-profile murder, they suspect they are being used by the killers.
I really wanted to like Sarah Penner’s latest after loving The Lost Apothecary, but I just could not get into it. The beginning was terribly slow, with mind-numbingly boring descriptions of Victorian England spiritualism. Although the narrative finally picked up a bit in the middle, I found I didn’t really care too much about any of the characters. Although I enjoyed Lenna’s blend of skepticism and desire to believe, I thought Vaudeline was an underdeveloped empty shell and the alternating chapters from Morley’s point of view were grating.
May mercy be upon the man who finds himself the enemy of a vengeful medium…
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
About Sarah Penner
Sarah Penner works in finance and is the author of The Lost Apothecary and The London Séance Society. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Visit the author’s website →