This is a historical fiction meets young adult meets paranormal; a crossing of several not-often-crossed genres. Gemma was raised in India and has wanted to go to London for years but her mother won’t take her there. After an unfortunate accident that involves magic, visions, and the death of her mom, Gemma is sent to a boarding school in that very city. The type of vision that she had in India starts happening more frequently and while she struggles to understand them and their meaning, she also has to navigate the politics of a Victorian era boarding school, mean-spirited classmates, a weird/creepy guy who seems to be following her around, and a father who is in seriously declining health, both mentally and physically. All the cards seem to be against her, yet she finds a way to find happiness. Kind of. For a while. And then….
I don’t like spoiling plots too much, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, by all means read this book. It has gotten a lot of great reviews, but it has also gotten lots of bad reviews. My review is of the latter.
I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t. For many reasons. First, Gemma is supposed to be a 16 year old in a Victorian era London boarding school, yet her language and mannerisms and disposition are decidedly current. So much so that it was distracting to me, and I’m not that big of a stickler for rules like these in novels. Second, the character development was virtually non-existent. I wasn’t personally invested in the outcome because I just didn’t care about any of the characters (who, by the way were all brats, in the very modern sense of that word.) Third, The story is just….boring. There was a love line….kind of. There was tension among friends….kind of. The whole book just reeked of “meh”
I’m going to end with quotations from two different reviewers, who summed up my feelings perfectly: “The story was frustratingly predictable, the characters one-dimensional, and the writing drab.” ”In conclusion, I basically ran out of give-a-damn.”