The Diviners by Libba Bray
I found my Podcast soulmates! Joscelyn and Pam host the Books & Brews Podcast which is the combination of my two favorite things, books and beers. It is such a fun listen-these gals love their books! And, they're Canadian. Bonus. Except I can't find some of the beers that they discuss. Maybe someday I'll have to take another trip up north. This podcast has made morning chores far more enjoyable and has caused my TBR to topple. You can find out more about these ladies and listen to their podcast on this book here:
Seriously, check them out. They're a blast!
The Diviners was an extremely fun and fast read considering it clocks in at a whopping 578 pages. We follow Evangeline "Evie" O'Neill, the wealthy socialite daughter of the Secretary of the Zenith Women's Temperance Society and the town's most successful car dealer. After getting caught spreading some unwelcome truth about the town's Golden Boy, our partry-loving Evie is shipped off to New York City to live with her bachelor Uncle Will. Why her parents send her from Ohio to NYC, during Prohibition no less, to get Evie out of trouble is beyond me-but it makes for some really entertaining reading. Her family is still dealing with death of Evie's older brother James who was serving in the war years before. Within minutes of departing her train, Evie encounters Sam Lloyd, a young scam artist who steals $20 from Evie and becomes personally acquainted with her knee.
Along with his assistant Jericho Jones, Uncle Will is the owner of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. Full of mysterious objects ranging from spirit photographs to poppet dolls, the only thing the museum lacks is paying visitors.
Once in the city, Evie meets up with her childhood best friend Mable and goes on to spend her time partying, shopping, and touring the city. Along the way she meets up with an array of new friends: an up-and-coming star Theta and her piano playing "brother" Henry, Memphis the number runner, and Sam comes back into picture. This time though, he's working for Uncle Will. All of these friends have one thing in common-every one of them has a special gift that they keep hidden. We learn that they are all "Diviners," people with unique supernatural gifts that are as different as the people who have them.
When Uncle Will is approached by Detective Malloy to help investigate an unsual murder, Evie charms her way on to the scene. After accidentally using her gift, Evie comes in possession of clues that will become vital to the investigation. Evie and her friends become an important part in taking down a sadistic cult and a crazed spirit, all while dodging police raids and pesky newspaper reporters. But no more spoilers, promise.
There was so much that went on in this book. I really enjoyed all the characters, and I'm curious to see how much more we learn about the actual history of the Diviners and the stories of all the side characters in the upcoming books. The setting of Prohibition Era NYC was a lot of fun. All of the glitzy outfits and the speakeasies and dancing girls. It seemed like everyone was living in an apartment or hotel of some kind so there were several times that a well placed fire escape came in handy. This book reminded me of Lev Grossman's The Magicians- a group of young adults who never met before have to come together to defeat a dark magical element all while partying their little hearts out.
Excellent start to a series and highly recommend!