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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Review by Kelly Jarvis: The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird by Louisa Morgan

The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird is a riveting new novel from Louisa Morgan, the acclaimed author of A Secret History of Witches. Beatrice Bird, a woman born with special empathetic abilities, flees her psychology practice to seek solace on a sparsely populated island in the Pacific Northwest. Since trying acid at the suggestion of a patient, Beatrice’s empathy has begun to manifest in the form of “ghosts” that trail behind the people she sees, and she hopes to escape the pain and turmoil of feeling other people’s trauma. When a young woman named Anne Iredale arrives on the island hoping to escape her own traumatic past, Beatrice and Anne become partners in solving a mystery which helps to bring both of the women peace.

The novel unfolds with alternating focuses on Beatrice, Anne, and Anne’s five-year-old son Benjamin. The plot bounces between the present day on the island and the women’s past experiences. Readers learn how Beatrice’s gifts develop from her childhood, and they understand Anne’s trauma through the lens of her own early experiences. Although some of the shades that Beatrice sees are ghosts, others are simply manifestations of fears and feelings that hang upon the living who have not yet processed their emotional pain. The novel is both a haunting story about two women’s lives and a commentary on the way we all carry pain with us even after we believe we have recovered.

I loved The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird. I found the characters engaging and the ideas insightful. Although Beatrice has been blessed with the fairy gift of “second sight”, the book has a real-world and true crime feel that grounds the fantasy elements in reality. The book’s message about overcoming trauma is admirable, and the relationship between the women who help each other to process the past and look toward the future is inspiring. If you like novels that delve into human psychology while offering a touch of mystery and Gothic detail, The Ghosts of Beatrice Bird is the book for you!

You can find it here.

Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

Kelly Jarvis is the Special Projects Writer and Contributing Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her work has appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer, Blue Heron Review, Forget-Me-Not Press, Mermaids Monthly, The Chamber Magazine, and Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She teaches at Central Connecticut State University.

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