Ami McKay's third novel, The Witches of New York continues the tradition of her last two books of being female driven, folklore focused and taking place in an era gone by.
The narrative pace of this story I found to be a bit slow to start with my full attention only being gained with the introduction of Beatrice Dunn. Beatrice is a young woman intrigued by an advertisement looking for a shop helper who should not be 'averse to magic'. She makes her journey into New York City and to 'Tea & Sympathy', the tea shop owned by Eleanor St Clair and Adelaide Thom, who specialize in not only tea, but the reading of leaves, potions and spells for their society clientele.
The clever tale of these three women and their gifts, interwoven storylines and strong characters is enchanting. Throughout the novel, it was all about the details. McKay intertwines the storyline with selections from Eleanor's grimoire (essentially a book of magic), lunar phases, excerpts from a book regarding a Salem witch, and newspaper 'clippings' which lend an evocative description of both nineteenth century New York and witchy things in general. There is an intriguing darkness throughout the plot paired with love and innocence. Captivating supporting characters make this story whole, but leave you with unanswered questions and wanting more. Perdu, a raven who may not really be a bird; a pair of dream fairies and a few other humans that might lend more history to the characters of Adelaide and Eleanor. The ending it self answers some questions, but leaves you wanting further resolution.
As with all of her stories, there is a theme of independence, suffrage, and mysticism matched by strong females. While this was not my favourite of McKay's, it isn't one to pass by either. Although The Witches of New York may not yet be a prequel (but certainly could be) or a sequel (Adelaide/Moth is featured in The Virgin Cure) it is a compelling read.