Celine Kiernan is a writer I simply cannot recommend enough, I love her writing so much that I am struggling to write this review but here goes. Firstly this book combines gothic, historical, fantasy and horror in a way that is completely unique. Secondly the two settings; a gothic mansion in the Irish countryside and the narrow streets of inner city 1890s Dublin are brilliantly realised, Kiernan's use of dialogue and wonderful , rich, descriptive prose are a real treat. Thirdly Kiernan really knows how to create amazing, unique and interesting characters.
If that wasn't enough to get you racing off to the shops to buy this book perhaps the plot will hook you. The story focuses on two groups of friends; Tina a seamstress in a Dublin theatre, who works for the aging diva Ursula Lyndon, her suitor Joe who works several jobs trying to raise money for a future with Tina and Harry a young American magician who has arrived in Dublin looking for work (Actually a young Harry Houdini). The three friends along with Ms Lyndon soon catch the attention of Vincent and Cornelius who have arrived at the theatre to audition players to perform at their country house. In reality Vincent and Cornelius live at Fargeal Manor and have lived there for centuries with Raquel and her children and an assortment of retainers and villagers. They have clung to life and their youthful looks by feeding from the light of an "angel" locked beneath the manor house but they and the angel are growing weak and what the men seek are performers who will feed the angel and sustain them. Tina, Joe and Harry soon realise that something is not right and set out to release the angel but have no idea of the consequences.
This is a dark tale asking deep questions about the existence of God and the meaning of life and friendship. It will intrigue fans and new readers alike and is a must if you are a fan of Dracula or The Picture of Dorian Grey. With this book Kiernan has absolutely become the Queen of Irish Gothic Fiction.