''With a remarkable cast of characters... McKay has crafted a stunning work that bridges the gap between historical and contemporary women's issues. The novel is ambitious in its scope yet still delves deep into the thoughts and motivations of characters who normally exist on society's outskirts -- or even beyond the earthly realm.... McKay's elegant prose bridges the gap between the real world and the spiritual realm with skill and compassion.'' (Kirkus, starred review)
''Wonderfully wicked and deliciously dark, The Witches of New York had me totally spellbound. Reminiscent of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Ami McKay has written a book brimming with atmosphere, intrigue, and a cast of mesmerising characters. I loved it.'' (Hazel Gaynor, author of The Girl Who Came Home)
''In the tradition of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Ami McKay recreates not just a historically confident vision of 1880 s New York, but a richly imagined, detailed subculture of witchcraft, occultism, and sinister dark forces that coexist precariously, in plain sight; stealthily encroaching upon the affairs of the Gilded Age. Skillfully written, peopled with refreshingly authentic female characters and hurtling forward at a furious pace, McKay delivers that most precious of all experiences to discerning readers -- a refuge of intelligence, insight, and genuine invention. Easily one of my favorite books of the year.'' (Kathleen Tessaro, author of Rare Objects and The Perfume Collector)
''Nasty women, your party has arrived. Ami McKay's witches are in town.... The real aim of McKay's new novel is to show a group of believable women leading ''an unconventional life''.... McKay is a fine plotter....The layering of narratives and styles is lively, and the multiple characters' pasts are especially absorbing.... Society types straight out of Edith Wharton pursue spiritualism for fun... but McKay widens her scope with grimier episodes.... She has a nose for the Dickensian.'' (Alix Hawley, Globe and Mail)
''A labour of love, and a testament to the craft.... The novel unfolds with a hurtling intensity. But McKay doesn't let the compulsive momentum interfere with her deeper explorations of her characters....McKay is able to tease out hidden depths and contradictions with ease, revealing the characters in their confounding (and occasionally off-putting) complexity.... One cannot help but want to spend more time in the company of these witches.'' (Robert J. Wiersema, National Post)
''The book is richly researched, and packed with enticing historical detail. McKay's prose is, as always, superb the descriptions enchanting, the narrative arcs compelling, the characters dear (or deliciously sinister, as the case may be). But it is the emotion of the novel that lingers longest, the pervading horror over the persecution of women -- and what this persecution has done to repress women's talents, impede their progress and stamp out their voices.'' --(Tara Henley, Toronto Star)
From the Back Cover
New York City in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women—some possessed of true intuitive powers, some gifted with the art of performance—find work as mediums. At their humble teashop, Tea and Sympathy, Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair provide a place for whispered confessions, secret cures, and spiritual assignations for a select society of ladies who speak the right words, and ask the right questions.
When Tea and Sympathy posts an ad that reads, “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer, though she has little inclination of what the job will demand. Beatrice doesn’t know it yet, but she has great spiritual gifts, ones that she will come to harness under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor. But not even they can prepare Beatrice for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or give her the courage it will take to face them.