England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.
This book was the one I chose for the ‘try a chapter‘ tag I did. Out of the all the first chapters, this book had the most enjoyable one. Unfortunately, the rest of the book was not quite as enjoyable as the first chapter.
I was worried in the first chapter that Rose would be one of the sisters you get so often in literature, good-natured and sweet and so naive they need their big sister to take care of them (think Jane Bennet, Prim Everdeen etc) but Rose really surprised me with becoming her own person with her own goals, not just being a sort of lovable pet for the main character. I liked the other characters as well, though I wish Evelyn had other female friends involved. It made up for how disappointed I was by Kent and Braddock’s characters, who felt rather flat, though I liked their backstories.
I really loved the historical context and the paranormal nature of this book, the different powers were interesting to learn about, especially Evelyn’s own, and how it affects people around her. The world-building of the Society was interesting enough, though I wish the Society would have shown up more in this book.
Despite all this, I found this book started to drag in the middle. Evelyn started to bore me as a character and I didn’t like the pacing of the book. I can’t quite pinpoint why but I found this book a little boring at times even when something exciting was happening. I felt like plot things were happening because plot things should happen, not because the characters would do them.
I won’t be reading the sequel and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Three stars.