Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.
|I LOVED this book! It's magical, alluring, beautifully plotted and full of fabulous characters, both human, and not-so-human (Oh, Perdue, you lovely raven you!). Plus, let's not forget that Victorian setting. Think of the child Edith Wharton might have had with Charles Dickens. In fact, McKay has used many of the Victorian Penny Dreadful tropes to splendid effect.
Three women -- witches all -- in their shop, "Tea and Sympathy", a marvelous confection of place, as full of fairies (Dearies) as herbs and potions (some for 'regulating the womb' if you know what I mean). The shop is a place of refuge and care for the women of the neighborhood. Frankly, I want one of these shops near me. Now, please.
And of course, there must be a villain. For that, we have a group of religious fanatics who pluck the very worst from their teachings and apply them with murderous, misogynistic intent. (Shades of Jack the Ripper anyone?)
At the heart of this novel is something deliciously subversive: These women, who have suffered terrible loss and heartbreak, and who struggle under the yoke of Victorian patriarchy and hysteria, live with a quiet resolve and autonomy; they assist other women, they stand tall in their truth, and never deny who they are.
A joy to read from beginning to end and it kept me up at night reading far later than I'd planned. Enjoy.