Odessa is a psychic; her mother, the Great Madame Elena, is a fraud. After a séance goes terribly wrong and a woman ends up dead, an evil force slips into the land of the living.
Though Odessa and her mother try to outpace the rumors spreading, they can’t escape the danger that has taken residence within Odessa herself. When Odessa is shouldered with the responsibility of the Great Madame Elena’s business, she starts to lose control of the spirit world, and she can’t afford to make another mistake.
Asked to open the door to the other side again, Odessa witnesses a brutal murder that hints at black magic and is faced with a choice: risk her life for freedom from her mother, or go on living a life of servitude. If she goes into a trance again, will she be able to maintain control?
***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Patchwork Press
Sometimes you read a book and are so completely blown away by it that you can’t help but think, why have I not heard this title shouted from the rooftops or at least seen it in my Facebook feed? Then you go on Goodreads and it has so few ratings you’re floored. As a blogger, this pains me and hopefully, this review will piqué your interest enough to give it a try.
The Empath is an unsupecting and virtually hidden gem that deserves to be loved and cherished by fans of tarot, seances, magic, and things that are so spooky they make your skin crawl.
- Character descriptions are flawlessly executed. Erica Crouch analyses her characters with a psychological precision that is captured with concise, poetic nuances. I found myself nodding my head, easily imagining each character from clothing to internal dialogue.
- The séance scenes are terrifying. There’s an air of uncertainty and foreboding that resonates throughout the story. You can feel the veil between worlds slipping into something much more sinister and frightening. Odessa’s fear is a rabid, raw thing that consumes and overwhelms better than a creepy horror film.
- Erica Crouch creates a magical setting that like a time machine, transports to an older time, one with caravans, wealth, and village atmosphere. The hysteria and excitement that comes with the rise of mediums and the parties of the upper class elite is realized in bouts of fainting, shrieks, and murder.
- THIS: “My neck, my shoulder, he skims his fingers over my collarbone and moves in closer. I forget everything around us because now he doesn’t smell like winter, but like fiction, ink and parchment, and he’s so close I can measure the pulse in his neck.” SWOON. OMG. Up until this moment, book boyfriends were measured in sarcasm and muscle but this has got to be the sexiest description of a love interest I’ve ever read. It’s probably the book nerd in me but he smells like fiction and ink? Melts.
- Odessa is calculated, smart, and talented but cowers and caters to her mother. Odessa diminishes herself because of her mother’s psychological taunts and harsh words. It’s heartbreaking how poorly she’s treated by her mother because she has a gift that her mother envies. Odessa is in awe of her spiritual connection and she respects it, always tentatively easing in and taking precautions. I appreciated that Odessa treated her craft with such reverence. As the story progresses, Odessa comes in to her powers and with that fights for the strength to stand up to her mother. Odessa’s blend of insecurity in relationships but confidence in her spiritual abilities is a believable mix.
- Ghosts, demons, wraiths, and others that come through from the other side are presented in a way that is not hokey or too paranormal and that makes the encounters seem all the more real.
- This book is so short. Practically a novella.
- Because of the length, the romance felt too fast to build an emotional connection and the demonic incident was resolved in a way that felt like a summary.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: