Set in late 19th century London, Dietz weaves a story in and out of that fine line between spiritualism and medicine in that era. In a world of gutter, penny-cure doctors and half hack mediums, we meet Dr. Ambrose Gennett and Miss Lily Embly in the strangest of situations.
Dr. Gennett, a pioneer of new wave psychology and psychoanalysis, meets Miss Embly briefly during an encounter at a train station, before she abruptly flees. Having a doctor’s mind, Dr. Gennett finds her to be much troubled woman and well, there’s simply something about her. He pretty much stalks her until he find out where she lives. He shows up on her doorstep one evening during working hours to find that she is actually a medium. No proper lady at all. While Gennett is enraged and disappointed in his first impression, Lily sees this as a sign. Well, she is a medium, folks…
Lily works her way into Dr. Gennett’s private matters using her employment as a medium to fascinate the women of Gennett’s life. Soon enough, she’s holding seances for his mother, sister, and aunt. Then the scandal begins. Seriously. I don’t even know what happens at this point. Everyone’s pointing fingers and placing the blame until it’s all one jumbled mass of lies and miscommunications. It’s a case of mistaken identity I suppose, but in the eye of the beholder. How can you be pissed off at someone for not being what you expected them to be?
The story quickly dives into childish bickering and behind-the-scenes secrets. By the end, you hate these people. They’re simply ridiculous. I have to admit that during these parts, it was pretty…uninteresting. At the point where Deitz should have been bringing everything together and explaining some of this mayhem, it’s just immature spats and no one bothers to actually listen to anything that someone else has to say.You will find no revelations here.
The last two pages make it all worth it though. It leaves with a serious feeling of, “What the fuck? Did that just happen? What the fuck is wrong with these people?”
If you can make it through the last half of the book, you’ll be amazed at the ending. There’s just a lot of drivel to get there. This is her first book though, and for that, I have to say that it’s damn good. I can’t wait to see her hone that skill into something wonderful.