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We’re turning back the clock for today’s Deadly Destination and visiting Victorian England thanks to Alyxandra Harvey’s Violet Willoughby. But this won’t be a typical tour. We’re going to learn how to run a séance—or how to make it look like a séance. I met Violet earlier this summer and I’m thrilled for all of you to meet her too. Thanks to the wonderful people at Penguin/Roc Books, four of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book! See details below
Violet’s Guide to Running Séances in Victorian England
1. Prepare the room in advance.
2. Ghosts are said to speak through knocks, cold draughts and tilting furniture.
3. It is helpful to have an arthritic neck which can produce strange popping sounds, but one can’t have everything.
4. Folded paper slipped under a table leg will help it to wobble when necessary.
5. Damp perfume-soaked handkerchiefs release scent. Be sure to choose one that was popular several decades ago for grandparent communication.
6. A handful of salt in to the fire grate is most dramatic. Pepper will only make you sneeze.
7. Spirit apports are gifts which materialize during a sitting. Flower petals hidden in your sleeve or held in your shawl are popular. More odorous gifts, such as old cheese, are less well received.
8. If at all possible, pick the pocket of one of your guests. Return the item as spirit apport.
9. A servant outside the room can blow bellows through holes in the wall to create a draft. This is much easier than smuggling them under your petticoats.
10. I speak from experience.
11. Be vague with messages from the beyond. Send greetings and love. Do not attempt to offer directions to the hidden family silver. This never ends well.
12. Try not to scream when you discover that ghosts really do exist but you are the only one who can see them.
13. Especially when they have been murdered.
About Alyxandra Harvey
Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream.
Among her favourite books are ‘The Wood Wife’ by Terri Windling, ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, and of course, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. Elizabeth Bennet is her hero because she’s smart and sassy, and Mr. Darcy is, well, yum.
Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.
Want to read more from Alyxandra?
Giveaway provided by Bloomsbury
4 copies of HAUNTING VIOLET by Alyxandra Harvey
Available now from Bloomsbury
Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother’s elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.
Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother’s scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she’s known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?
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