I will admit, I was surprised to see that this book categorized as horror, but then again some of the things that occurred to women in this book was pretty horrific! And yes, there were witches, ghosts, demons, magical creatures, but honestly the humans were the scariest part!
The book was not at all what I expected, to be very honest. I expected magic but was surprised to be given a time period piece. I mean, you can tell that the author really went out of her way to make sure that you felt like you were stepping into the 1880’s. Not only that but the herbs that were mentioned in the book and their uses seemed to be pretty spot on!
The book follows 3 witches who are very different from each other but become a family. Eleanor owns a tea shop in New York and shares that space with Adelaide, her friend and a tarot reader. Elanor is a very seasoned witch, Adelaide is more of a reluctant witch and she has a chip on her shoulder. You see, she was once very beautiful and a jealous woman attacked her causing her to lose her eye. This along with the trauma of her past makes her very cynical. Lastly, you have Beatrice, a young woman who until now did not know she had powers but will soon find out that her gift of seeing ghosts would rapidly change her life.
The author does an amazing job incorporating news stories so that you feel like you are right in the 1880s. She masterfully shows you what the lives of women were in that time and how they had to fight for their place with the Women’s Suffrage movement. She touched on the needs of some of the tea shop patrons to get herbs to prevent pregnancy because during this time women were not allowed to have a choice about being a mother. And for a short portion of the story we got to meet the woman who was once Eleanor’s lover, but now was married to a powerful man in the area.
The book started out very slowly at first but that was mainly due to the fact she was laying down the foundation. It wasn’t until the zealous priest was introduced and his insane need to kill witches was introduced that the book picked up. He was insane to say the least….yes a demon pointed him in this direction but the evil in his heart was all on his own. He really just hated women and had no problem torturing or murdering them in order to cleanse the world of their evil. His chapters were interesting and really made you wonder what was going to happen when his portion of the story met with our three witches.
Another element that really helped move the story along was the introduction of Dr. Quinn Brody. His interest in proving or disproving the supernatural played a major role in propelling the story forward. This is also what propels Beatrice into the spot light since she is able to communicate with spirits. She is able to get his “Spiritoscope” to work and that causes Dr. Brody to want to show his findings to those in their community. It is right before this performance the paths of Beatrice and the Priest cross. To avoid spoilers I will just leave it at that.
Overall, the book was a bit slow in the beginning but it did pick up some momentum. The atmosphere the book created was amazing and each character really had their own voice. I enjoyed seeing these three very different women learn to love and trust each other. I think it was great that each character was able to stay true to themselves even when the world was against them. Do I wish that the story picked up a lot faster? Yes! I mean it was extreeeeeeemly slow in the beginning. I understand why but it really just was a bit boring in the beginning. The supernatural elements though? They were on point! Honestly, that is what pushed this book from a 3 to a 4. Warning there is a cliffhanger that has to do with the next book in the series, but this book still leaves you satisfied with how it ends. Will I be reading the next book in the series? It is definitely being added to my TBR list!