Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge

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Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Katie Pullen
Reviewed by Katie Pullen
Summary: When fortune teller Rose Lee attends a gathering at Lady Quayle's, she sees a terrible fate for one of the guests and soon finds her own fortune embroiled in a plot of mystery and deceit. A well-written and intriguing tale, full of twists and turns, and plenty of drama, set against the backdrop of both high and low society in Victorian London.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0701185046

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Fortune teller Rose Lee lives on the edge of London society in 1860, making her living by entertaining (and sometimes deceiving) the rich by reading their palms. She fears the fate she has read for herself in her own palm which is perhaps what makes her cautious of delivering the whole truth to the ladies that employ her. On one particular night Rose is called to the house of Lady Quayle, a woman of high society, who delights in having her fortune read, taking everything Rose tells her as gospel. One of the guests present is Emily, a young girl and friend of Lady Quayle's daughter Tabitha.

Seeing in Emily's palm a terrible fate awaiting her, Rose feels compelled to keep it to herself, but is all the while haunted by it. But soon Rose is called again to Lady Quayle's who desires more and more readings, particularly as her daughter Tabitha begins to worry her and when Rose finally takes a look at Tabitha's palm she sees a fate as terrible as Emily's awaiting her. Soon Rose finds herself at the beck and call of Lady Quayle as her predications start to come true and her own fortune becomes intrinsically linked to that of Emily and Tabitha in ways she could not have imagined, let alone predicted.

Sara Stockbridge plunges us straight into the action in this second novel and maintains her pace throughout. Although this is a relatively short book, it is packed with a great story, great characters and is very well written. It reminded be straightaway of Sarah Waters' brilliant Victorian novels and I wonder if Stockbridge has been inspired by these. Her theme of fortune telling is a an original hook and one which she has clearly researched as she writes with authority on all the intricacies of palm reading, making it more and more fascinating and I'm sure many readers like me will start looking at their own palm and wondering what fate has in store for them.

Stockbridge is clearly confident setting her novel in Victorian London as she writes using language that unmistakably tells us when this novel is set, using words that are perhaps not so common today. In doing so her Victorian setting comes alive without the need for many descriptive passages, which in turn allows her plot and characters to shine through.

The plot itself is quite complex for such a new writer and it's impressively played out. I certainly admire Stockbridge's ability to keep the reader guessing at times, even though she employs a dual narrative, telling the story from both Rose and Tabitha's perspectives. You'd think this would give everything away at first, as the reader learns of events before the majority of characters, but somehow it adds just a little more to the mystery and certainly made me question whose narrative I could trust. There are many twists and turns and I couldn't get to the end fast enough to find out the truth.

All in all this is a convincing and highly enjoyable read, full of drama and some brilliant twists and turns and although on the short side is so densely packed with a brilliant plot that it seems a lot longer. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further Reading Suggestion: If you like the sound of this book, you may also enjoy The Fortunes of Grace Hammer also by Sara Stockbridge.

Buy Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge at

Buy Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cross My Palm by Sara Stockbridge at


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