(I bought this book.)
Fabulous book! Uneasy Spirits is another beautifully written, evocative, full-immersion trip to San Francisco in 1879. The independent and intrepid Annie Fuller is asked by one of her boarders, Miss Pinehurst, to investigate a popular medium who has seemingly manipulated Miss Pinehurst's grieving sister by channeling the spirit of her dead child. San Francisco has many such mediums, as the Spiritualist movement is very popular, and attending a seance is as fashionable as it is thrilling. Annie, while open-minded, is suspicious of the beautiful Arabella Frampton and tries to discover how she performs her tricks. Although Annie is quite sure Arabella is a fake, she can't figure out the performances of the strange and enigmatic Evie May, a young girl with a mysterious and compelling ability to channel a variety of spirits and change her very appearance right in front of witnesses.
Annie is accompanied to the seances by her enthusiastic, devoted maid Kathleen, and aided in her investigation by her beau Nate Dawson, a young lawyer who recognizes that since he can't stop Annie's unconventional behavior, he may as well go along for the ride to keep up with her.
Pretty soon Annie is the target of threatening notes and physically harmed as she gets closer to the truth.
But is Evie May a victim or a suspect? This was easily the most compelling part of the story for me, as we see that Evie May has, from a modern perspective, multiple personalities and a background likely filled with abuse. But to the educated people of 1879 San Francisco, including a famous Spiritualist and trance medium with a similarly abusive background, Evie May is guarded by protective spirits. Reading this in 2013 it's easy to be dismissive, and assume Evie May has multiple personality disorder, but her knowledge of otherwise secret events would lend credence to the belief that she is, indeed, some form of psychic. It's also a discreet but vivid reminder that the mental illness of one era is the revered powers of another era. The fact that Annie keeps an open mind regarding Evie May keeps this subtext alive and added a thrilling layer to the overall mystery.
And by the way, each chapter begins with a pertinent headline or classified ad from the San Francisco Chronicle dated from the exact day the story is taking place. A really nice touch.
I can't recommend these books enough!
Check out the author's website HERE.