Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* New York in 1880 is ablaze with fascinating ideas. The spiritualism craze is in full swing; scientists seek proof of the occult, and Egyptomania spreads as the ancient obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle makes its journey toward Central Park. Against this backdrop, Beatrice Dunn sets out for the city, an advertisement in hand for a position as shopgirl at Tea and Sympathy, where those averse to magic need not apply. The shop is run by calm, wise Eleanor St. Clair and mercurial Adelaide Thom, both witches with unique gifts. As Beatrice begins to discover her own powers, dark forces arise to stalk the witches of New York. In best-selling McKay's (The Virgin Cure, 2012) enchanting novel, the characterization is particularly adept, with these dissimilar but intriguing women the fixed point around which Gilded Age New York swirls. The writing, from the spells and fables of Eleanor's grimoire to Anthony Comstock's puritanical correspondence, is woven together with depth and intensity into a vibrant tapestry. McKay's treatment of the spiritual and unseen, and how it anchors the lives of these unconventional women, affords a lyrical, multidimensional version of magic realism that is entirely bewitching. Highly recommended.--Latham, Bethany Copyright 2017 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this weighty, wonderful novel, McKay (The Virgin Cure) takes a sidelong glance at misogyny through a veil of witches, ghosts, and other mystical entities in 1880 New York. Seer Adelaide Thom and witch and apothecary Eleanor St. Clair are the proprietors of Tea and Sympathy, a tucked-away shop where ladies in the know can find a cure for what ails them, including sleepless nights, broken hearts, and unwanted pregnancies. The magical pair's largely under-the-radar life is abruptly thrown into a tailspin by the arrival of Beatrice Dunn, a kindhearted young witch who's unaware of her latent powers. Knowing the trio will become a formidable force against evil, a watchful demon begins to plot their destruction-and plenty of mortal men also feel threatened by these women of intellect, self-sufficiency, and independent means. McKay seamlessly combines several plots and juggles a large cast with grace. Skillful worldbuilding, fascinating characters, and a suspenseful plot make McKay's novel an enchanting, can't-put-down delight. The door is left open for a sequel, and readers will hope McKay takes Adelaide, Eleanor, and Beatrice on further adventures of witchery and self-determination. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In her latest novel, McKay (The Virgin Cure; The Birth House) envelopes readers in 1880s New York with its hotbed of spiritualism, women battling for equal rights, and new inventions. In this world, demons and dearlies (fairies) walk among humans, planting ideas and seeking mortals with magical gifts. Both sides are focused on teenage Beatrice, who has recently arrived in the city and discovered her supernatural abilities. Beatrice finds allies and tutors in Adelaide and Eleanor, the proprietresses of Tea & Sympathy, a tea shop that covertly aids women in their many needs. Adelaide is a mentalist, Eleanor mixes herbal remedies, and Beatrice can see and speak with ghosts. With an evil minister purging the city of witches, danger abounds for the trio. Many questions are left unanswered, and it appears there may be future tales of these three companions. Unfortunately, the use of multiple story lines, newspaper articles, and excerpts from books, while intriguing, ultimately causes the reader to feel disconnected from the tale. Verdict Moving beyond historical fiction as it delves into incredible magic and dangerous supernaturalism, this title will appeal to fans of McKay's prior works or those who enjoy unearthly tales grounded in historical events.-Katie Lawrence, Grand Rapids, MI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.