I know it’s not “spooky season,” but I read “beach reads” all year round, so why not check out a creepy book in May?

A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myers(which I found out about through a review on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) is about Genevieve Timmons, a spiritualist in Victorian London who is yanked out of the gallows at the behest of Mr. Pemberton, a mysterious man who lives in an grand estate on a cliff by the sea. He’s mourning the death of his fiance. The police said it was suicide, but he doesn’t agree. He doesn’t want Timmons to bring forth his fiance’s ghost — he knows what she does is an act  — but to hold a seance with the goal of getting her killer to confess.

There are multiple mysteries running through this book, including what happened to Timmons’ mother, and Myers writes in a way that the killer really could be anyone. Still, I was surprised (in a good way!) about the resolution.

It’s creepy and gothic, but it doesn’t get all the gruesome — for a while, I pictured the estate looking like the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World. It does get more serious than that, and I wouldn’t quite call it a cozy mystery (or “whimsical” as the book copy suggests, I agree with Smart Bitches here), but it doesn’t get anywhere near a Stephen King level of ick.

So: I liked this! It’s also Myers’ first novel for adults. I suspect I’ll be checking out her YA books soon.

Nail polish: NFTease Me by OPI.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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