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CORPORATE - Penguin Random House

Half Spent Was the Night
A Witches' Yuletide
By (author): Ami McKay
9780735275669 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Historical / General Oct 16, 2018
$20.00 CAD
Active 5.08 x 7.17 x 0.59 in 112 pages B&W ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT Knopf Random Vintage Canada Knopf Canada
Beloved author Ami McKay is back, bringing us a magical follow-up in the tradition of Victorian winter tales to her mesmerizing bestseller, The Witches of New York.

During the nights between Christmas and New Year’s, the witches of New York—Adelaide Thom, Eleanor St. Clair and the youngest, Beatrice Dunn—gather before the fire to tell ghost stories and perform traditional Yuletide divinations. (Did you know that roasting chestnuts was once used to foretell one’s fate?)

As the witches roast chestnuts and melt lead to see their fate, a series of odd messengers land on their doorstep bearing invitations for a New Year’s Eve masquerade hosted by a woman they’ve never met. Gossip, dreams and portents follow, leading the witches to question the woman’s motives. Is she as benevolent as she seems or is she laying a trap? And so, as Gilded-Age New York prepares to ring in the new year, the witches don their finery and head for the ball, on the hunt for answers that might well be the end of them.

Story Locale: Gilded-age New York

MORE WITCHES: The National Post summed up the response to Ami’s last novel best: “One cannot help but want to spend more time in the company of these witches.”

A WONDROUS READ: Full of haunting finesse, or as Ami says, “Shirley Jackson meets Edith Wharton.”

A CHARMING PACKAGE: Adorned with period imagery, spells and incantations, and even a seasonal recipe or two.

AMI McKAY’s debut novel, The Birth House, was a #1 bestseller in Canada, winner of three CBA Libris Awards, nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a finalist for Canada Reads and a book-club favourite around the world. Her second novel, The Virgin Cure, a Best Book pick across numerous lists, was inspired by the life of her great-great grandmother, Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female physician in nineteenth-century New York. And with her third, The Witches of New York, also a national bestseller, she was recognized by the Globe and Mail as “one of the country’s most beloved storytellers.” Born and raised in Indiana, McKay now lives in Nova Scotia.

Author Residence: Scots Bay, NS

Author Hometown: Indiana

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Praise for The Witches of New York:

“Old New York shows its magic and its darkness in McKay’s latest novel…. [A] remarkable cast of characters…. McKay has crafted a stunning work that bridges the gap between historical and contemporary women’s issues. The novel is ambitious in its scope yet still delves deep into the thoughts and motivations of characters who normally exist on society’s outskirts—or even beyond the earthly realm…. McKay’s elegant prose bridges the gap between the real world and the spiritual realm with skill and compassion. A sprawling tale of persecution and hysteria set in the vivid world of New York City’s Victorian era.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Wonderful novel…. McKay seamlessly combines several plots and juggles a large cast with grace. Skillful worldbuilding, fascinating characters, and a suspenseful plot make McKay’s novel an enchanting, can’t-put-down delight. The door is left open for a sequel, and readers will hope McKay takes Adelaide, Eleanor, and Beatrice on further adventures of witchery and self-determination.”—Publishers Weekly (starred)

“[An] enchanting novel, the characterization is particularly adept…. The writing…is woven together with depth and intensity into a vibrant tapestry…. Highly recommended.”—Booklist (starred)

“A dark, atmospheric, and feminist story of three women in New York City’s Gilded Age, each determined to thrive in a society hell-bent on keeping them down, and using their coven to do so.”—Buzzfeed

“An excellent read.”—Bustle


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