When you’re dead, you’re dead. When you’re gone, you’re gone. Unless, of course, you’re not. And that’s where I come in.
The year is 1897, and Peggy Devona can speak with ghosts.
She hides her gift from those afraid of a girl with such powers, terrified of the secrets the dead could reveal through her. But when her best friend is accused of murdering her rich mistress, Peggy knows only she – a hisperling – can save her.
Peggy escapes to her uncle’s psychic emporium in the city, seeking out new ghosts to help her solve Sally’s case.
Yet time is running out, and each step towards uncovering the truth also brings Sally one step closer to the gallows. . .
Long listed for the Bath Children’s Novel award, Hayley Hoskins writes in the space between family and work, with much support from her writing group.
Mum to a teenage boy, she spends a disproportionate amount of time hoping that her son’s life is far less complicated than those of the characters in her books, and trying to ensure he becomes a ‘good egg’.
Originally from the Forest of Dean, Hayley lives with her family and hairy breezeblock of a dog in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Twitter
My thoughts: inspired by the real life executions of teenage girls in the past and the Victorian fascination for séances and the afterlife, this is a clever, fun story of a young woman with an extraordinary gift and how she uses it to get justice for the living and the dead.
Peggy Devona has inherited the family gift for talking to the dead – she’s a Whisperling – and while it isn’t as bad as being a 17th century witch, there are still those who see it as evil. Like the local vicar, Tate, who has a real issue with Peggy. And a few other people.
Sent to live with her uncle at his psychic emporium (he has two clairvoyants living and working there – Oti and Cecily, who are a joy fyi) for her own safety, she is determined to save her best friend Sally from the noose after she is accused of murdering her employer.
But in order to solve the crime, she must give in to the power of the Devonas and allow the dead to speak. Assisted by her friends and family, can she stop Sally’s terrible fate and right a wrong?
Really enjoyable, lots of fun and Peggy is a great protagonist. Her gift frightens her, not unsurprisingly, and in embracing it she realises she can do good and help people. She also discovers she is surrounded by people who love her – living and dead.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.