Miss Margaret Prior is a 29 year old woman seeking out something in her life to make it more worthwhile. This all happens of course after her brother stole the love of her life. She decides to visit ladies at the prison and meets a young woman named Selina Dawes who she assumes is a good soul. Quickly they become close and share spiritual means together, for Selina Dawes is a medium.
An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.
First, I'd like to say, this book was nothing of what I expected. I was expecting a very spiritual and romantic novel. Instead, I got a book about a woman who claims to see spirits in prison, and a woman whose so kind enough to visit her as well as the other ladies of the prison. I sort of liked this book at times, but as a whole, it really left me disappointed. I kept expecting something marvelous to happen, but nothing spectacular occurs. This novel was nothing fantastic like Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith. If you liked those two novels you might find this one a disappointment. I'd hate to give away the ending, but lets just say it's not spectacular in any sense, in fact, if you're anything like me it'll make you loathe the book. I can't give this more than 2 stars. 2 stars is just a kindness to the fact that at times it had me intrigued, if only mildly. Throughout the book it felt like it was missing something. I think it just didn't have the tragedies or the difficulties that were contained in the other 2 books I read by this author to give it that certain something. It felt quite stale. That's not to say some parts of it weren't written well, they were of course. It sounded very much like a Sarah Waters book, minus the dramatic occurrences that previous Sarah Water's books contained. That's really all I can say about this book. I don't recommend reading it if you enjoyed Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith.
Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.