Author: Julie Cohen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 9th July 2020
Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her – and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . .
Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them – but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.
Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom?
First of all I have to say Spirited has one of the loveliest cover designs of the year! Luckily the book is every bit as good. Spirited follows Viola, a young woman in mourning for her father who appears to be able to capture spirits in her photography, Henriette, a spirit medium with a complicated past and Jonah, Viola’s childhood companion turned husband, recently returned from India where he was caught up in the violent Siege of Delhi. All three of these characters are haunted by their past and their circumstance. What follows is an emotional and subtly beautiful story of love, loss and faith.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I think it is gorgeously written with a kind of sensitivity that makes you feel so much empathy for these characters. There’s an elegance to the prose which suits the touching story beautifully. Viola is a fantastic character who is genuinely kind and honest in a way that makes the reader immediately root for her to find happiness. I loved reading about some of the delicate intricacies of Victorian photography, it is fascinating and once you add in the possible presence of spirits it becomes even more so. The Victorians are generally seen as being rigid, strict and religious which is certainly true but there was also a deep fascination with the supernatural in the Victorian era. This is something Spirited explores – the connection between faith (both religious and spiritual) and science plays an intriguing part of the story.
Whilst being a compelling look at the world of spirit photography and seances, Spirited is also a touching love story. In fact, it is more than one love story and they are all equally engaging. I don’t want to give much away but the relationships in Spirited are full of tenderness and the intense power of finding someone you feel an instant connection with. Spirited is a truly lovely tale of devotion, hope, grief and finding your place in the world whilst at the same time being beautifully evocative of the era. It’s an elegant and touching book which I highly recommend.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is my own honest opinion.