‘Something stirs in the deep shadows, something terrible, and the wind, which knows evil well, shrinks from this place. It flees towards the safety of those magnificent tall buildings that promise the blue skies, nothing but the blue skies, of the future, of industry and prosperity; the future, which does not believe in the evil of the past. If the wind were a sentinel, it would send up the alarm. It would cry out a warning of terrors to come. But it is only the wind, and it knows well that no one listens to its cries.’
Evie O’Neill has been sent away from her parents in Ohio to live with her Uncle in New York. Evie sees this as a blessing. She gets to go to speakeasies, shopping and, basically, have a very glamorous life. She makes friends with a Ziegfield girl called Theta, and her old friend Mabel, and they spend their nights at parties and having fun. However, Evie is soon dragged into her Uncles world of murder, superstition and the supernatural. Evie has a secret, one which may catch the murderer.
I don’t know what I expected when I read this, perhaps because I wasn’t blow away by Libba Brays other book Beauty Queens, (While still a good and enjoyable read it didn’t wow me). The Diviners has a completely different feel and setting to it, butLibba Bray pulls it off perfectly. It feel so realistic, even with the supernatural elements! I was soon dragged into Evie’s glamorous life. It wasn’t just Evie though, Memphis’ life was also very interesting to read. We also got odd snippets from other minor characters and I thought that it was a nice addition to the book. The Diviners was very long and nothing actually happened yet it kept my attention right to the very last page. I liked the setting. I haven’t read many 1920s historical fiction, except The Other Typist, which is a favourite of mine. I had high expectations of The Diviners, but thankfully it did not disappoint.
The characters, such a great bunch! I am deadly serious when I say I loved every single one of them – even the crazy murderous ghost. They were all so complex which such depth and development to them all. I have to be honest, it took me a while to fully admire and appreciate Evie, she was a tad enthusiastic for me, but she did grow on me. She actually turned into one of my favourite characters. She was so selfish, wait – maybe not selfish but more thoughtless, but I absolutely loved it! I admired her with her flaws and all. She was a very interesting character. She was a liar, a dreamer, a partier and an attention seeker but she had a kindness and a sincerity to her that I really did love. Memphis was another favourite. He wanted to write poetry so much, and he was so passionate about it. He was aware that him being African American left him at a disadvantage in the world, especially in New York. When he began a relationship with Theta, he didn’t care what people thought because he felt she was worth it, and vice versa. I liked how Libba Bray talked about the issue of racism in 1920s America. Other secondary characters also captured my heart, such as Theta, Jerico, Mabel, Will and even Sam.
The romance was a nice little addition, but it was subplot. It wasn’t constantly shoved into our faces which is a big positive. I really did feel the connection between the characters, and the chemistry between Memphis and Theta, and Jerico and Evie.
I will definitely be picking up the next book, and more from Libba Bray as I really did love this. It was a fantastic, beautiful and suspenseful read and I believe any fans of Historical Fiction will love this.
The Diviners is definitely a book to read. I wouldn’t be put off by it’s length, I found it to be an easy and compelling read and I do recommend that you give this a go.
MY RATING: ★★★★★