A lesson in vengeance by Victoria Lee

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Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend.  Now, after a time away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumoured to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students - girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called 'method writer.' She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.
The story very quickly draws readers in, with intriguing characters and the right mix of back story, literary references and historical, feminism mystic, referring to the story created for the overall novel – the murders of girls who were thought to be witches back in the 1700s. Interweaving witchcraft along with the fear of witches and magic, as well as feminism and the persecution of women, the whole novel has women’s rights vibes, while also looking at mental health and interpersonal relationships. LGBTQIA+ characters feature through the book in a natural way, and the whole story flows extremely well. There is a darkness to the entire novel, provided through the layering of the backstory of the main character over the history of the murdered girls – and the ‘method writer’ of the house. Well worth a read, ideal for fans of Krystal Sutherland’s House of Hollow.

Themes: LGBTQIA+, Mystery, Fantasy, Crime, Dark Mysticism, Witches, Feminism, Trust, Mental Health.

Melanie Pages