Beginning in the narrow backstreets and imposing drawing rooms of Victorian London, Sara Stockbridge’s novel mixes lowly gypsy fortune-tellers with high society. A well-to-do group of women invite Miss Rose Lee to entertain them after a dinner party, but neither the host, Lady Quayle, or Rose herself are prepared for what she will see on her guests’ palms: one in particular, which clearly reads ‘fearful, violent death’.
The plot twists and turns between truth and lies, with Lady Quayle’s daughter Tabitha and her friend Emily at the heart of it. Class boundaries transcend as the gypsies and socialites’ destinies become intertwined, resulting in the disappearance of the Quayle daughter and a desperate search to restore her to her family. The murky plot unfolds in the second half of the book and there is a Fingersmith-style twist towards the end. A good ‘petticoat drama’ read for fans of Sarah Waters.