Cover the Mirrors by Faye L Booth – novel review

“Cover the Mirrors” Faye L Booth (Macmillian New Writing)

Transports us back to 1856 when Molly’s Aunt Florrie made a decent income from the craze for mediums who could contact the spirit world. At 15 Molly is her apprentice – beats back-breaking work in the cotton mills and a hand to mouth existence. By 16 Molly inherits her aunt’s business, is lusted after by a manservant who shares her humble beginnings and is courted by a mill-owning businessman. Uncovering the mirrors, that superstition believed with conduits between the dead and living, after mourning her aunt, Molly meets a ghost. Only this apparition is solid and intent on blackmail or, failing that, murder. Molly has to turn a mirror on herself and discover whether a relationship founded on mutual lust can stand its most severe test ever.

Faye L Booth describes the period in sensual detail, including the negatives. Molly is a real woman of her time, not a feisty modern heroine in a period backdrop. The female characters are well-rounded, solid people. The weakest character is William Hamilton, the mill-owning businessman, who feels too good to be true at times and the reasoning behind his behaviour is an info-dump that would have been better teased out. There’s a fairy-godmother touch towards the end when a friend’s self-centred, violent drunkard of a father conveniently, but not unexpectedly, dies. But generally the characters get to solve their own problems convincingly.

“Cover the Mirrors” is hard to categorise: it’s not a bodice-ripper, it’s not a thriller in a period setting and it doesn’t rely on whimsical period devices such as letters and journals like Elizabeth Kostova’s tedious “The Historian”. “Cover the Mirrors” is a good story integral to its setting brought to life with characters that remain memorable long after the book’s closed.

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3 Responses to “Cover the Mirrors by Faye L Booth – novel review”

  1. Steffan Hughes Says:

    Excellent thought provoking contribution.

    As a child in Oadby I wandered all along the Gartree Way.

    The new town would undoubtedly materially reduce the quality of the countryside with all the consequent effects on flora and fauna.

    The conundrum is of course where do the growing population go. In my childhood Oadby was a village of 3000 souls. Ten times that now. Can we stop progress?

    Or rather can we stop progress and sustain growth?

  2. emmalee1 Says:

    It’s a tricky one. On one hand carbon-neutral housing and encouraging eco-friendly living is a good thing. On the other, Pennbury’s too large, too sudden, in the wrong place and lacks crucial infrastructure. There are already new housing developments in Kibworth, Hamilton, Thorpe Astley and north of Leicester. Harborough Borough Council have planned to fit most of their new housing need in Harborough itself on brownfield sites. Tellingly, the Co-operative Group talk about rail links, ie they already envisage Pennbury as a communter village. Therefore Pennbury residents will not be contributing to life in Leicestershire. Yet this is a requirement in the government’s prospectus for eco towns.


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