The Mesmerist by Barbara Ewing

About the book

London, 1838: the controversial practice of Mesmerism, with its genuine practitioners and its fraudulent chancers, has hypnotised the city. Miss Cordelia Preston, a beautiful, ageing, out-of-work actress terrified of returning to the poverty of her childhood, suddenly emerges as a Lady Phreno-Mesmerist. In her candle-lit Bloomsbury basement she learns to harness her talent – and to finally look towards the future. But success is fragile when you have a past filled with secrets. On a wintry, moonlit night a body is found in Bloomsbury Square, and what began as an audacious subterfuge erupts into a scandal. Cordelia’s past is revealed, bringing not only heartache but terror – and the mystery of a cloaked figure who waits for her in the shadowy London streets.

Reviewed by Fawley/Holbury U3A Reading Group:

On the whole we found this an easy read, which was interesting because of the details about ‘alternative medicine’ in Victorian times. However, we did find the story a bit simplistic, with an all-too conveniently happy ending!

Rating: 3 Stars

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