“The Emancipation Proclamation freed our bodies, the end of the Civil War liberated us from bondage, but it is up to us to free our minds, Part of that freedom Includes finally participating in the ideals of this country, ensuring they apply to us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Clara Johnson has the ability to communicate with spirits. It is both a gift and a curse. She finds herself at the mercy of all manner of people coming to her for counsel or help related to the supernatural. But she just wants to live her life quietly, continuing to advance the Black agenda as the assistant to a professor. It’s 1920’s Washington and the world is changing. She finds herself embroiled in a brewing spiritual war in the quest to secure a magical ring with an amazing history. If she is successful, she will not only stop the war but be relieved of her spiritual gift (a gift she gained through a bargain and every bargain with the supernatural has a cost). Together with a ragtag, and yet fascinating, group of friends she faces the ultimate test.
I love when a book you’ve never heard of jumps off the shelf at you and it turns out to be a hidden gem. Clara was a fabulous protagonist living in a unique world of magic and spiritualism that balanced well with the history of the time. I really lost myself in the world building and loved the Oceans Eleven-like caper of a quest. The cameo of WEB du Bois was such a fun addition. This one wraps up cleanly but gives just enough of an open door for another story in this world, and I am excited for that prospect. The writing is witty and thought provoking without being inaccessible.
Read this one if you liked The Ballad of Perilous Graves.
If you could communicate with the dead, who would you talk to first?