Spiritualism and the holding of seances was most popular in England. Violet's mother, Celeste Willougby, used peoples' belief in talking to ghosts to exploit them for her financial gain.This story is set during the reign of Queen Victoria when
Violet hated being forced to participate in these deceptions, but saw no way out of this lifestyle. While the two were on their way to the country estate of Lord Jasper, Violet's life changed for ever when she sited 'corpse candles' and the ghost of a girl in the window of her carriage. This she knew was the 'real' thing unlike the fraud her mother committed. Somehow Violet has to resolve the death of this ghost/girl and come to an understanding of her ability.
The descriptions of scenes and scents were so vivid that this book came alive for me. I could feel myself getting breathless as Violet ran across the fields from Lord Jasper's to the adjoining estate. The scent of lilies and lilac sprung to mind during the various seances. I could even feel and smell the aroma of the rose petals that were scattered about Jasper's estate. I couldn't see the ghosts, but I could certainly imagine them, especially when they crowded around Violet in an attempt to protect her from her mother's wrath.
Thanks to author Alyxandra Harvey for a totally enjoyable story. The character of Violet was a pleasant surprise. She is a strong young woman seeking to improve the situation she finds herself in. She carefully considers who to include in her circle of friends and from whom to ask for assistance instead of throwing herself upon another and expect that person to resolve her problems for her.
I am happy to report that Alyxandra has written a sequel to this story.
Thank-you to Penguin Canada for my review copy.
Cover image from Alyxandra's website.
Are you intrigued by the Spiritualist Movement, check out my recent review of Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and illustrated by Lisa Brown.