The Witches of New York

The Witches of New York

Book - 2016
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Random House, Inc.
The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft...

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (Moth from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and gardien de sorts (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment.
     Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.
     As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

Publisher: Toronto :, Alfred A. Knopf Canada,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780676979589
Branch Call Number: FIC MCK
Characteristics: 511 pages ;,22 cm


From the critics

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Jun 23, 2019

This story sort of chugged along but it never got slow enough that I thought to put it down or not finish it. The characters are very well rounded and likeable

Feb 20, 2019

Completely drawn in by the first chapter. Strong female characters who lift one another up. The author's attention to detail in the writing creates a strong vision of place and time.

Jan 14, 2019

I really enjoyed The Birth House and this was a very enjoyable read as well. Lots of strong female characters with bits of real history thrown in.

IndyPL_AnikaW Dec 04, 2018

Difficult-to-put-down historic fiction with a focus on feminism and the occult.

If you liked 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell' and also like women's stories and literary fiction, you'll likely find much to enjoy within this fascinating novel by Indiana-born Ami McKay (who now lives and writes in Canada).

For those who fall in love with the characters, McKay has released a small sequel entitled 'Half Spent Was the Night: A Witches' Yuletide.'

Oct 09, 2018

New genre: science witches!

Sep 04, 2018

I was drawn right into the book from the first few pages, loving the settings and the characters. Then… It just slowed down. I went on vacation with it 2/3 completed...and barely touched it. That’s unusual for me.

TashD Jan 25, 2018

I loved the descriptive writing on the characters and tea shop. The detail and emotions put into this book made me picture being there. Although the book was a little more ghosty than witchy than I expected I still thoroughly enjoyed it, almost as much as The Birth House!

Dec 14, 2017

This was a really good book with strong female characters and made me want to read her earlier books, the character of Moth is fascinating. Can't wait for the next one.

Nov 08, 2017

The reader is spellbound by this unconventional novel, which is not only a thrilling experience but a learning one as well : a well-documented historical background , a detailed social depiction of the living conditions of unmarried women at the time ( late 19th century ) and of course magical spells and recipes…! the quaint atmosphere of the times and the mystical characters of the story add to its seductiveness.
A perfect concoction for witchcraft lovers only, very entertaining and “enchanting”….

Apr 26, 2017

Though not my usual genre, and a bit slow at the beginning, I found I really enjoyed this book and the characters. The passions, potents, and nature of witchcraft at the time was interesting.i would definitely recommend, but keep an open mind, and just enjoy the writing,
4/5 stars.

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SPL_Brittany Nov 14, 2016

Beloved and bestselling novelist Ami McKay returns with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of three remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft...

Set in New York in the 1880s, the great obelisk, Cleopatra's Needle is slowly making its way through the city. While Egyptomania grips the city, three women, Eleanor, born into witchcraft and taught by her mother; Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) a former sideshow fortune teller who's beginning to understand her true gifts; and Beatrice a young woman seeking her independence, have all experienced the unexplainable. Recognizing that they are stronger together, the three women form a partnership. Their tea shop caters to Manhattan's wealthy society women specializing in cures, palmistry and potions -- while carefully guarding the secrets of their clients. While helping Beatrice expand and understand her gifts, dark forces gather around them and they'll stop at nothing to drive the witches from their midst. Two hundred years after the trials at Salem, in a time when women were committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

An atmospheric read, McKay creates a wonderful sense of New York City during this era, and brings all of her characters vividly to life in a clever tale of the power of love, friendship and witchery that will delight the minds of readers. An enjoyable read for fans of Paula Brackston. 


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SCL_Leanne Aug 29, 2017

"Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply."

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