Ida Jameson may not have been invited to join any of the occultist groups but she’s learned plenty on her own. She’s positive that she can bring forth a spirit using her best friend, Maud Gonne as the body. What she expects is someone from the past, a wandering spirit. What she gets is Laura!
Laura Armstrong is a graphic artist in an advertising agency. She just got married but is putting off her honeymoon until a big ad campaign is done. Her husband, Amit understands. But a strange thing happens on her wedding night; Laura is drawn to the past, to London during the late Victorian era.
Ida takes Laura/Maud to the Yeats’s home where they are introduced to the entire family including W.B. Yeats or Will. Laura and Will almost instantly connect. This is fine until Laura returns to her real body and Maud doesn’t understand what Will is trying to do.
Nightly, Laura dreams of Will and many nights she is with him. Only a day passes in her time but weeks and even years pass in his. Ida seems to hold the key as to when Laura visits but now Ida wants more. For her to get what she wants, people may have to die!
This story is highly connected to the occult, its beliefs and Irish pride.
During the late Victorian era, there was a great interest is mysticism, magic and things that couldn’t be explained. Groups/cults formed and rituals developed. Ida, Maud and Will all believe in this, though some more than others. Many of the beliefs and rituals are described and practiced by these characters.
It is also the time of extreme poverty in Ireland. Maud would like to see the peasants revolt against their overseers, the British. She is very revolutionary in her thinking. Will thinks writing poetry and showing the rich heritage that the Irish have is a freeing exercise. There actions as the story unfolds are those of proud Irish patriots.
The characters are different. W.B. Yeats was an actual Irish poet. Therefore, many facts of his life are established. Maud was also a real person and there are established facts about her also. However, Laura is not, nor is Amit and probably not Ida. Ida has a life and a history that is shared throughout the book. Laura and Amit are not as well developed or shared. Indeed, Amit actually has a small, though important, role in the book.
Behind those Victorian stereotypes is a lot of sex. People didn’t divorce but they did have affairs. Orgasm was seen to be power and occultists made sex into a ritual. There is a lot of sensual and sexual content in this story which may make some people uncomfortable. Ida kisses Maud/Laura so she can tie this spirit to her but it also excites her. Welcome to the Victorian age!
Most of this story was set during that time frame. Of course, much of it was not in the corporal plane.
A bit of poetry, mostly W.B. Yeats, is found at the beginning of each chapter. At the end is a page from like a dairy or a letter. Each shares a bit more of what is happening during the narrative part of the book.
With all that being said, I had some issues with this book. The transition of location and time was sometimes confusing. In Laura’s time, only days went by but in the past days or years went by giving no finite story line or sense of continuation. Some how Will saying that he’s been searching for Laura for years doesn’t give the same impact as reading about how he search, what he felt or where he looked. I also had difficulties connecting with the characters. With all the traveling and rituals and occult stuff, I never really got a good feel for the characters.
This complex story made me think to keep track of it. It wasn’t an easily read story. There was no way I was going to read it in an afternoon.
Though I found the premise to be interesting and unique, I felt the book didn‘t read as smoothly or seamlessly as I had hoped. I was ready for it to be over well before it was. However, if you’re into Victorian spiritualism and occult, you will probably love this book.
In a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry, and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power-but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist, instead. When Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne, Laura falls in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats. Their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats' poetry- until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces between Laura's time and her own. With Laura's Irish past threatening her orderly present, she and Yeats must find a way to make their love last over time, in changing bodies...or lose each other forever.