The Witches of New York

Written by Ami McKay
Review by Lisa Redmond

The Witches of New York is the third novel from bestselling author Ami McKay. While the new novel sees the return of Moth from her previous novel, The Virgin Cure, it can be read as a standalone. The story opens in New York in September 1880 with Moth, now Adelaide, and her dear friend Eleanor, who have opened Tea & Sympathy, a tea shop where they offer spells, remedies and advice to the well-heeled ladies of Manhattan. While Eleanor is the expert on remedies and tea, Adelaide is a talented seer and happy to proclaim herself a witch. Having lost an eye to an acid attack from a jealous rival, she revels in her witchy appearance.

The ladies’ workload has increased, and so Adelaide places an advert seeking an apprentice, and Beatrice comes into their lives. Beatrice has travelled from small-town upstate New York seeking adventure and magic, and she is a wonderful addition to the store, but it soon becomes obvious that she has incredible magical abilities. While Eleanor wants to help the girl to develop at her own pace, Adelaide wants to test out Beatrice’s abilities, and before long Beatrice disappears. Has she run away? Or has she been taken? Because in a society that condemns women, is it ever safe to be a witch?

The growth of Beatrice’s character is skillfully woven throughout the novel as she turns from country girl to a young woman in charge of her own destiny. This is a beautiful novel, impeccably researched, powerfully plotted and packed with intriguing characters. Carefully blending fantasy, crime and historical fiction, this is a charming and atmospheric read perfect for fans of Sophia Tobin, Susan Hill and Essie Fox.