The Spiritualist by Megan Chance
Young Evie,who has married far above her station, is accused of murdering her husband Peter. Her husband’s family and her society friends have abandoned her. Evie knows she must find the means to exonerate herself, even if she must call on the dead for help.
Young Evie,who has married far above her station, is accused of murdering her husband Peter. Her husband’s family and her society friends have abandoned her. Evie knows she must find the means to exonerate herself, even if she must call on the dead and engage a charlatan for help.
From the Publisher
In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton’s husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive séance. Having “married up” into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband’s last steps. And so, joining forces with her husband’s best friend–and the only Manhattan lawyer who will accept her case–Evie dives into the mysterious underworld of the occult.
Before long, the trail brings them to a charismatic medium, Michel Jourdain. Evie’s instincts tell her the smooth-talking Jourdain is a charlatan–and her only hope for exoneration. But getting close to Jourdain means embracing a seductive and hypnotic world where clues to murder come through the voices of the dead.
Caught in a perilous game in which she is equal player and pawn, predator and victim, Evie finds there is no one to trust, perhaps not even herself. As her powerful in-laws build a case against her, and with time running out, Evie must face the real ghosts of her past if she is to have any hope of avoiding the hangman.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Book Club Party Ideas for The Spiritualist
Spiritualism took hold of many during the Victorian period. Smart mediums knew how to manipulate the grief of their affluent patrons by offering them comfort and contact with a deceased beloved one at hefty price.
Dim the lights and decorate with the soft glow of candles. Hang black crepe over your mirrors and draw the curtains. Any good medium knows that a bright room scares the spirits away. (It also brings the parlour tricks into the light.)
To create a creepy atmosphere for your book club party, Midnight Syndicate’s Thirteen Hour is the just the music to fill the bill. This soundtrack will take you and your guests on a tour of an old Victorian mansion where the spirits are restless. After you encounter the Mansion in the Mist, you’ll be taken down a Forgotten Path, Family Secrets will be revealed and The Lost Room discovered. Hear those tunes and more below.
Midnight Syndicate’s “unique blend of dark orchestral movie-style instrumental music and carefully crafted sound effects make their “soundtracks for the imagination” truly interactive listening experiences, earning them a diverse worldwide following in … gothic music…” (Product Description)
Book Club Menu for The Spiritualist
Peter and Evie dined in their honeymoon bridal suite where Evie was to get “the first taste of the life she would grow accustomed to.” More food than she had ever before seen was presented - “salmon mousseline, stuffed squab, filet de veal, strawberries and cream and wine.”
Squab, which is young pigeon, is not available where I shop, so according to Cook’s Thesaurus, Cornish game hen can be substituted for squab or vice versa.
Book Club Resources
Spirit Rappers and Table Tiltings
|Photo of a Black Maria horse-drawn police wagon. Evie was transported to district court in just such a vehicle.|
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Good Reads: 3.49 stars (202 reviews)|
|Amazon: 4.3 stars (24 reviews)|
|Barnes & Noble: 4 stars (11 reviews)|
|My Rating: 4 stars A page turning erotic murder-mystery about a young heroine who yearns to master her own destiny.|
Purchase The Spiritualist by Megan Chance at your favorite bookseller
- “Ms. Chance effortlessly portrays New York society at its worst and best of the period and makes it easy for the reader to dive into that world. There’s a temptation to race to the ending of the story but the journey with the characters holds the reader’s interest. With unexpected twists and a startling conclusion, Ms. Chance has written a beautiful novel. I highly recommend it.” — Historical Novel Review
- “The novel has an almost palpably dark and wintry feel, and it’s not initially clear whether the little group of spiritualists (headed by the charismatic Michel Jourdain) is composed of charlatans or visionaries. As Evelyn pursues her inquiries (where was her husband in the last days before his murder?), she enters a dark underworld that teaches her some shocking truths about his death — and his life. Then she has to find her own way forward, in a way she could never before have imagined.” — Melinda Bargreen, Special to The Seattle Times
- “Set in the mid-1800s and capturing that era’s fascination with the spirit world, this gripping historical mystery captures both the physical setting of the time and its emotional and psychological underpinnings. Table-tipping, spirit-writing, seances and mediums were the stars of their day. The precarious position of women dependent almost entirely on their fathers and then husbands is clear. A complicated plot and characters make this a book you can’t put down. Chance’s research is complete yet so subtly used that the reader never feels lectured.” — Page Traynor, RT Book Reviews
Recognition for The Spiritualist
Featured alternate selections of:
- Book of the Month Club
- Mystery Guild
- Literary Guild
- Doubleday Book Club
Discussion Questions for The Spiritualist
- Peter Atherton left the bulk of his estate to Evie. What was his motivation in doing this?
- Discuss the Spiritualism movement and why so many in the 19th century were drawn to it? What did Spiritualism offer? Why was it so easy for so many to believe in its authenticity?
- Do you believe Michel Jourdain was a charlatan preying on the weaknesses of others? Was Dorothy being victimized by Michel? What about Evie?
- Did you buy Michel’s explanation to Evie about his relationship with Peter? Why or why not?
(more discussion from the website of Megan Chance)
Megan Chance has penned several highly acclaimed novels. The former TV news photographer resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.
Visit the Megan Chance website
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