It is 1856 and Spiritualism is at the height of its popularity. Molly Pinner has left behind her childhood in the Preston slums and inherited her late aunt Florrie’s mantle as Preston’s most successful medium. It soon becomes clear that her aunt was something far more cunning than a magnet for the spirits of the dead, but Molly puts aside her qualms and takes well to her new trade.
Molly’s relationship with her oldest friend, Jenny, is jeopardized when she begins a passionate affair with local businessman William Hamilton. Before she knows it, Molly finds herself married to a man she cannot love, and pregnant with a child she does not want. In desperation, she makes a decision that will cast her relationship with William in a completely new light.
Trapped and traumatized, and longing to regain her friendship with Jenny, Molly is about to receive a blow that will turn her life upside down. It seems Aunt Florrie lied about more than just her ability to commune with the dead: a truth hidden for years is about to emerge, and it will threaten not only Molly’s livelihood, but her very life.
Cover The Mirrors by Faye L. Booth is a dark and zesty historical novel of distorted truths and suppressed Victorian desires.
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About the Author
Faye L. Booth was born in Lancashire in 1980 and continues to live in the county. She shares her home with a menagerie of animals.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was so gripped by this that I actually read it all in one go despite the fact it was late and I had work in the morning. Set in the 1850s, the story centres around a girl who inherits her aunt's job as a medium, and it's her emotions and reactions that make the story so interesting. Marriage, sex and pregnancy are described in a realistic and unsentimental way without glossing over any of the unsavoury details -- a refreshing change from the idealism and superficiality of most romance novels. The heroine is strong-willed and passionate without seeming out of place for her time, and each character is a realistic, well-crafted mix of flaws and virtues with believable motivations and reactions. I highly recommend this book!
After her aunt dies and leaves her the family business, Molly Pinner becomes the only spiritualist in the town of Preston. Molly begins an affair with a local businessman named William Hamilton, eventually marrying him after she becomes pregnant. Her best friend, Jenny, also pregnant, moves in with the Hamiltons, but a rift comes between the two girls when Molly tries to get rid of the baby. Then a secret from Molly's past comes back to haunt her, and she find that lives are at stake, especially her own.I liked the idea of this novel, but there were a lot of aspects about it that didn't live up to its promise. My biggest problem with the novel is its main character; Molly's not particularly compelling or someone that you find yourself rooting for. In fact, I found myself caring less and less for her as the story went on. Her relationship with William seemed to be based primarily on sex, and it seemed completely unrealistic to me that a mid-nineteenth century, semi-respectable girl like Molly would have sex with a man she barely knows in a public park. The nature of their relationship is strange, too: at first, William seems to be the controlling type, only out to marry her because of the business she owns (not extensive or lucrative, by what I could see), but immediately he breaks down and wants to sell his family business because he claims he's no good at running it. Then, inexplicably, he purchases a liquor factory. Preston-a hygienic, 21st-century rendering of a poverty-ridden, 19th century town--didn't seem very real to me. Despite the title and the premise, there really wasn't much in the way of séances or spiritualism in this novel, and Molly seemed as though she could have cared less about the business, for all the control she wanted to hold over it. And all the good characters seem to come out alright in the end-despite their checkered pasts, both Jenny and Katy get second chances, and self-righteous Molly, who censors Lizzie for her mistakes, is somehow absolved of making nearly the same mistakes. It was an ending that was a little too neatly wrapped and tied, in my opinion. That said, I do think this novel was well-researched. There was a lot of promise in this novel, and I really did want to like it, but ultimately this book didn't work for me. However, if you like books such as The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose, you may enjoy this one. Despite my complaints about the novel, I'm given to understand that this is the author's first, and I'm willing to give her writing a second chance if she writes a second.
Consider this: the by-blow of a gothic melodrama and a Mills and Boon romance, raised by Catherine Cookson in the Hammer House of Horror. An apt summary of Faye L. Booth's novel.I appreciate historical fiction set in the north, but Carol Birch captures the hardship and unity of a Lancastrian community with greater nuance. Faye Booth also acknowledges the restrictions and hypocrisy of Victorian England, but fails to allow either historical context or circumstances to impact her obnoxious heroine.Molly, of the hackneyed red hair and green eyes, is a bit of a goer, to put it colloquially, but her hasty coupling with a man she barely knows (in a public park - in 1850s England) is rewarded with a Good and Understanding Husband (he has a brief fit of trying to lord it over her, but she soon breaks him with her own cruel and underhanded style). Double standards abound - Molly's crucial decision is seen as being for the greater good, despite lying to her husband and risking her life to satisfy a whim, yet she is later allowed to judge and condemn (and send to the gallows) another woman for shedding the same personal shackles. Molly's upstairs-downstairs friendship with the mill girl she grew up with is also tested by the same predicament for both - and yet it all turns out perfectly for Molly, presumably because she owns a house and runs her own business, whereas Jenny is a walking case study of poverty and suffering.The darker scenes are more convincing and dramatic - some are genuinely shocking in the realism of description - than the repetitive and cheap attempts at 'romance', but the climax descends into farce and everything is neatly parcelled off for the characters. Molly is rewarded for doing exactly as she pleases, absolved of all blame and wrongdoing, and Jenny is presented with Another Chance. Faye Booth paints a vivid picture for the imagination, opening Molly's house to the reader, but there is no real sense of time or place. Despite her solid research and personal knowledge of Preston and environs, this could easily have been set in 1890s London or 1930s Liverpool. As to the characters and their behaviour, it can only be hoped that she was being ironic, and that 'Cover the Mirrors' is a patchwork pastiche of many genres.
The story starts with Florrie Pinner teaching her niece Molly about her take on Spiritualism, Molly takes to the task and when Florrie dies she takes charge.However things start to unravel when she finds herself quite quickly pregnant, despite the warning of a friend doing the same and being abandoned by the father, and the warnings of her aunt to keep independent, she marries.Yes, the characters are interesting but I really didn't care about many of them and several of them appeared to die more to tie up loose ends than anything else. I also really didn't get a solid sense of place from the story or any real feeling that Molly learnt anything other than to be as selfish as possible.