My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Postbellum America makes for a haunting backdrop in this historical and supernatural tale of moonlit cemeteries, masked balls, cunning mediums, and terrifying secrets waiting to be unearthed by an intrepid crime reporter.
The year is 1869, and the Civil War haunts the city of Philadelphia like a stubborn ghost. Mothers in black continue to mourn their lost sons. Photographs of the dead adorn dim sitting rooms. Maimed and broken men roam the streets. One of those men is Edward Clark, who is still tormented by what he saw during the war. Also constantly in his thoughts is another, more distant tragedy--the murder of his mother at the hands of his father, the famed magician Magellan Holmes...a crime that Edward witnessed when he was only ten.
Now a crime reporter for one of the city's largest newspapers, Edward is asked to use his knowledge of illusions and visual trickery to expose the influx of mediums that descended on Philadelphia in the wake of the war. His first target is Mrs. Lucy Collins, a young widow who uses old-fashioned sleight of hand to prey on grieving families. Soon, Edward and Lucy become entwined in the murder of Lenora Grimes Pastor, the city's most highly regarded--and by all accounts, legitimate--medium, who dies mid-seance. With their reputations and livelihoods at risk, Edward and Lucy set out to find the real killer, and in the process unearth a terrifying hive of secrets that reaches well beyond Mrs. Pastor.
This book was fabulous, from the beginning to the end. Magicians, mediums, secret societies, murders, ghosts, a hero and heroine that start out hating each other and all mixed into a riveting story. I loved every chapter of the book. The only drawback to the book? I want more, I want more Edward Clark alias Columbus Holmes, I want more Lucy Collins, and I want more stories! I didn’t want this book to end. I loved the atmosphere in the book (How I love stories set in the 1900-century), I loved that P.T Barnum made a cameo appearance.
I recommend this book strongly to anyone who wants to read a great book!
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!