Review by Mirella Patzer
When she is accosted in a barn by her cousin George who attempts to rape her, Jeannie Guthrie lets loose a whirlwind of telekinetic power which sends a pitchfork into George’s flesh. Unaware of her power before this incident, and believing she has killed him, Jeannie flees her Scottish home and farm. Fearing she will be labeled a witch, and punished for a murder she had not intended to commit, she heads to London. There, she encounters a kind young woman named Alexandra David who helps her get settled and find work with Helen Blavatsky, a woman known for her psychic medium abilities.
Jeannie finds herself immersed in the world of the supernatural where she must navigate its treachery while she learns to understand and control her own powers. Ever-present is her fear of repercussion for her crime, which motivates her actions throughout the story. Frightened by her wild talent, Jeannie Guthrie, speaks to the reader in first person narrative as she writes in her journal.
In this coming of age, young adult novel that takes place during the fascinating Victorian era, Eileen Kernaghan has written an endearing tale of a young woman alone in a harsh world. It is clear right from the start that the author has done a great deal of research into the times, portraying the Victorian's interest in the occult magnificently. The novel touches on the plight of a young woman alone, with no means of support, who is forced to make a living under difficult circumstances. The novel sweeps the reader from the countryside of Scotland, to high society London, and then to the opulence of Paris during the time of the world’s fair. Aspects of the supernatural is well-explored including real occurrences and tricks common during the time.
Although this novel is listed as a young adult novel, it transcends this limitation easily into adult or women’s fiction. It is richly written with a high regard for historical detail, making this novel a true and accurate journey into the richness of the Victorian world.