What would you do with a sister who steals memories from the dead?

I don’t know exactly what drew me into this volume ~ something about those two teenaged Victorian girls (17 and 19) who spend their nights foraging for treasure on the sandy shores near their home, and their days managing a shabby curiosity shop. 

The cover of this delightful novel shows the window display of Mary & Edwina’s shop which sells curiosities ~ such as hatpins, lockets, rings and books…as well as some magickal items…

The elder sister (naturally) makes the best of things ~ her absent parents, the burden of managing a business, and the task of corralling her fey younger sister who has a habit of wandering off, but whom she nevertheless adores.

But one evening, they discover a dead man on the beach and Mary (the younger sister) persuades the elder sister that since he is dead it is perfectly fine to steal his memories from him. Reluctantly Edwina (the elder sister) agrees, and soon the bluish memories arising from the “dead” body are contained within a marble-sized bauble. 

Satisfied, Mary follows her sister home. But things are not quite as they seem. Because the dead man is not actually dead but is now wandering around not knowing who he is. Edwina, feeling responsible, tries to help by giving his memories back. Unfortunately, she gives back the wrong memories, from one of her sister’s baubles belonging to another person. And so the poor man ~ his name is Ian ~ re-lives a horrible death that never actually happened to him.

Raven Spell is the first of two volumes, and so many threads are left to be tied up. But if you enjoy novels set in London during the Victorian era (1837-1901) with a quirky cast of characters battling murderers and Dark Magic, then this is the story for you. Five Stars. 

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