Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Harvey (the Drake Chronicles) delivers a fun adventure in the form of a Victorian mystery novel that captures the feel (and the flaws) of the age. At the height of the Spiritualist movement, 16-year-old Violet's mother is a con artist, taking advantage of Spiritualists like rich Lord Jasper, to whose estate they've been invited. Violet and Colin-an orphan taken in by her mother-assist in the cons, but Violet is surprised to learn that she can actually see the dead, and that the voiceless ghost of a teenager named Rowena wants Violet's help in bringing her killer to justice. Other complications include Violet's attraction to Colin (which conflicts with her mother's social climbing), an upper-class suitor, and Rowena's bratty (and very much alive) twin sister. Aided by her gossip-loving best friend, Violet unravels a complicated series of secrets, endangering her social standing and her life in the process. Harvey's writing is witty and brings headstrong, irreverent Violet to life ("Never mind finding an eligible bachelor, I mean to find a murderer"). The mystery is relatively uncomplicated, but the social complications drive both plot and character development. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-This novel is a mixture of mystery and historical fiction, with added bonuses of mediums, ghosts, and teenage love, all set in the backdrop of Victorian society. Violet Willoughby has participated in her medium mother's fraudulent seances since she was nine. Now 17, she is used to seeing her mother scheme rich widowers and old men out of their savings, and she is skeptical about the supernatural. However, on a visit to the country estate of Lord Jasper, Violet encounters the ghost of a girl her own age who is seeking help. Violet must find out what happened to Rowena, who died the year before, and she must do so quickly, before Rowena's twin sister suffers the same fate. She turns to Colin, her mother's assistant and the one boy she's grown to love, to share her visions. Also, there is a chance that Violet could escape her mother's wrath by marrying a gentleman of means. This all could be jeopardized if her secret ability is known. With the help of Colin and a friend, she may be able to accept her strange talent, prevent another girl from dying, and save her chances for a future free of lies. Readers will connect with Violet, who is struggling with coming to terms with her self-identity.-Shannon Seglin, Patrick Henry Library, Vienna, VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Though her fake-psychic mother gets unmasked during a weekend seance at a country estate, 16-year-old Violet must come to terms with the fact that she has the psychic skills her mother lacks, skills she'll need to solve one murder and prevent another from happening. Harvey has created a vivid and authentic Victorian setting for her mystery, with details and descriptions of both London and the English countryside that spring to life on every page. Against this backdrop, characters dally and saunter engagingly, and the mystery is revealed at just the right pace. Subplots concerned with class issues, romance, and spiritualists are handled deftly, and several characters are developed enough for readers to truly care about their fates. Harvey also balances a light touch of self-effacing humor with creepy imagery of dripping, drowned girls and gray London days. Give this historical fantasy-mystery-romance blend to female fans of Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Sorcery and Cecilia (2003) or Sarah MacLean's The Season (2009).--Welch, Cind. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Violet's mother's siances are a sham, capitalizing on the spiritualism rage sweeping through Victorian England. The sixteen-year-old is therefore shocked to discover she really can see ghosts. Harvey's modern spin on the gothic novel features a feisty (and drop-dead gorgeous) heroine, an engaging mystery with supernatural underpinnings, and plenty of romance, with a penniless suitor pitted against a wealthy one. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
In Victorian England, the daughter of a fake medium finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery when she starts seeing real ghosts.Sixteen-year-old Violet has learned to pick pockets and set up rooms for fake sances, but she knows she'll be stuck in poverty if she doesn't marry a wealthy man. Fortunately she's beautiful, and her domineering mother's growing fame as a medium has brought them to the country estate of Lord Jasper, a devotee of spiritualism. Almost immediately, Violet begins seeing the apparition of Rowena, a wealthy girl who drowned the year before. It's clear to Violet, though, that Rowena was murdered and that the dead girl's haughty twin sister faces equal danger. Harvey keeps the narrative moving smoothly and well as she weaves romance, suspense and even a bit of comedy into the story. She portrays many of Lord Jasper's aristocratic guests convincingly as snobbish and uncaring, although a few befriend Violet. The author makes her fantasy believable by having Violet see not just one ghost, but roomfuls of them, both ancient and modern. Most endearingly, Violet's newly found ghost dog attaches itself to her as though it were a living pet.A well-paced, clever and scary supernatural-suspense story. (Paranormal suspense. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.