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The Spiritualist

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  995 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
Sometimes truth is the greatest illusion of all.

In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton’s husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive séance. Having “married up” into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband’s last steps. And so, joining forces wi
Paperback, 420 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published 2008)
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Talulah Mankiller
Apr 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE SPIRITUALIST was the fourth story that I have read by Megan Chance and a trip back to 1857's New York City. This was such a hard review to write; I was tempted to give it three stars and skip sharing my actual thoughts about the book. I will have to be very careful not to give too much away.

The back cover indicates it is a cold morning in January 1856 but the beginning of each chapter indicates it is 1857. Evelyn and Peter Atherton's three-year marriage was at a stand-still. A lawyer, Peter
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Spiritualist is a delightful romp of a story about murder, seances and the supernatural with Victorian/Gothic atmosphere.
Evie has "married up" when she becomes Mrs. Peter Atherton, but not long afterward he is killed and she is the main suspect. His influential family is ready to see her charged and punished for his murder and believe she has done it for his money.
Dorothy Bennett is a wealthy old woman intent on contacting her deceased sons through seances. When Dorothy discovers Evie's s
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was downright gripping. I knew I was being conned and I totally didn't care because I wanted to know how it ended. Okay, so Evelyn Atherton's husband is obsessed with this medium and takes Evelyn to see him. That night he disappears and Evelyn's convinced something awful has happened but everybody's telling her she's nuts and in the 1850's a woman might as well be window dressing or a pretty canary or something if she's in society so she gets wholly ignored. Then he actually DOES show ...more
Paula Cappa
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written and suspenseful, this supernatural intrigue is quite a seductive little murder mystery in New York Society during the 1850s. Evie Atherton is a charming protagonist that kept me reading. I really liked her, although at times, she seemed oddly naïve for such an intelligent woman. You can really sink into this story: moody, haunting, and with the historical set, this read is a true escape. While this is not really a who-done-it (the murderer is no big surprise), the best part of this ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Reminds one of Daphne Du Maurier's chillier romantic suspense -- even the "good" people are manipulative. Nifty historical background and just a touch of supernatural spice the gothic plot.

** 4.5 Stars **
Patrick Solomon
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Spiritualist by Megan Chance was not my favorite book that I have read this year. I found it confusing and it didn't seem like it made sense in some places. I did find it interesting how Megan Chance could incorporate murder, the supernatural, and love all in one short book, however.
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
In the end, I was disappointed in this book. I was excited about it early on and spent every available moment reading it but by around the middle, it kind of lost its power. At that point, I kept reading because it wasn't so bad that I wanted to give up on it but rather I wanted to just get the reading of it over so that I could go on to something I might like more. The main character, Evelyn Atherton (Evie to her friends) was a middle class young woman, the only child of an investigator and a w ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys historical novels.
Shelves: a-favorite-read
I do not read many historical novels, but a few years ago a friend raved about An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance. I read the book and just loved it! Soon after I read Susannah Morrow, also by Megan Chance, (Salem Witchcraft) and was also pleased.

Her latest book The Spiritualist was released in May 2008, and it was excellent. Set in 1857 in New York City, I could not put it down. From the paranormal fun of séances, spiritualists, murders, and dangerous secrets galore, this was a great read. Me
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Whereas the first chapter was interesting and promising, what follows made me think that this is a terrible, terrible book. The heroine is so passive I felt like slapping her, and the identity of the murderer is so obvious that you can guess it from chapter one, provided that you've read the sinopsis too. YES, IT'S REALLY THAT OBVIOUS!
I don't normally bother writing negative reviews, but I can't stand heroines who claim to be smart and intelligent and then behave like damsels in distress / are
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Spiritualist was a very fun read, and the perfect book for October! Set in New York City in the mid 1800's, it follows the story of a woman who was born into the working class, but married a very wealthy and prominent man. A few years into their marriage, he is suddenly murdered after attending a seance. When she is accused of murder, our protagonist Evelyn decides to investigate in order to find the real killer.

Full of spirits, secrets, and a bit of romance this is definitely an enjoyable
Chelsea LaVere
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book you read in your college English class; the kind that is chock full of potential analysis worthy of essay papers. “Spiritualist” was brilliantly written with its plot and characters and captivates you from the beginning.

Throughout each chapter, it had me bouncing between different theories (which I was ecstatic to know a few of them were spot on!) and wondering more about 19th century New York City.

The overarching themes are honesty versus lies and the many faces that p
Debra Reedy
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read several Megan Chance books and I have to say that this book is one of my personal favorites. Her books seem to share a common theme which I enjoy: the main character is usually a very intelligent female but she is forced by society to conform to what a woman should be by her family, friends and husband. She is naive to the ways of world and finds herself being taken advantage of at every turn. She quickly realizes that she must be the one to save herself and turn the tables on those th ...more
Kayla Heffner
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be entertaining and if you keep a light heart about it, it can be enjoyable. I have some issues with her “abilities” in parts, and a little slow in the middle section in terms of plot development, but the end few chapters kept me pushing to read on ad slow the mystery. I also liked the descriptions of 1850s New York and society.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and evocative. While part of the mystery is easy to guess, the rest is nicely fleshed out. Complete with historically sensitive details and a bit of a twist at the end. A great read!
Earl Strumpell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing twists and turns. Most enjoyable read!

I highly Recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery filled with intrigue, suspense, twists and turns in the plot. Very well written. intelligent, witty and provocative.
Sally Collins
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many twists and turns in this book. The 1857 setting made these twists different from today's mysteries. This is a good read.
Ali Schultz
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Very slow, badly developed protagonist, villain spectacularly obvious from the beginning.
Erin Schramm
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of my favorite ghost stories I’ve read in recent years. Can not recommend enough.
Kathy Henson

Figured it out too soon. Otherwise, not bad . Nice for a quick weekend read with nothing better to do.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Whoo, boy, certainly creative and super creepy. Really curious to see where it goes.
Brianna Soloski
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Spiritualist – Megan Chance

Taking place in high society New York City in 1857 The Spiritualist by Megan Chance opens at a spirit circle at the home of Mrs. Dorothy Bennett. It is the first time Evelyn Atherton is attending the gatherings her husband, Peter, is so fond of. She is, of course, skeptical, as any logical person would be. She doesn’t understand her husband’s obsession with attending the circles to call upon the spirit of his mother, but because she loves him she is willing to make
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: paranormal
In the end, I was disappointed in this book. I was excited about it early on and spent every available moment reading it but by around the middle, it kind of lost its power. At that point, I kept reading because it wasn't so bad that I wanted to give up on it but rather I wanted to just get the reading of it over so that I could go on to something I might like more. The main character, Evelyn Atherton (Evie to her friends) was a middle class young woman, the only child of an investigator and a w ...more
Kathleen Valentine
Oct 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
ch coveted by fashionable people. Michel Jourdain was one of these, a dashingly handsome Creole medium/mesmerist he was quickly "acquired" by Dorothy Bennett, one of society's grande dames, who was famous for her "circles" starring her pet medium. Evie, desperate to understand her distant husband, attends a circle with him one night and the story takes off from there. A bullet is fired, chaos ensues, and Peter sends Evie home assuring her he will get to the bottom of this. What he gets to the bo ...more
The Spiritualist by Megan Chance was one of those atmospheric gothic reads I constantly crave. It brought to life an 1870's New York City shrouded in darkness and fog from the very first parapgraph:

"Beyond the misted windows of the brougham, it was as if the world had fallen away. I could almost believe that my husband and I were the only ones left alive on this night, and the muffled echo of our driver's shouts belonged to something otherworldly, as if the nightmarea that plagued me had seeped
It's 1856, Evelyn Atherton's husband Peter has been murdered, unfortunately for her she is the main suspect in the crime. The Anthertons are members of the elite rich in New York City's high society, Peter by birth, Evelyn by marriage; something people have not forgotten. Evelyn soon discovers she has few true friends and once she finds herself facing formal murder charges those in high places are no longer willing to associate with her.

Before his death her husband Peter was involved in the wor
Megan Chance’s, The Spiritualist is generally a well executed murder mystery set in pre-civil war New York. The novel is satisfying on more than one level. It’s an excellent character study as well as a meditation on the effects of modernity and the persistence of the irrational on the staid culture of high society as well as the perception of class.

The Spiritualist is also a fine atmospheric murder mystery that pits the rational and proto-feminist Evelyn Atherton, accused of murdering her soci
Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it
To office assistant Evelyn Graff, it seems like a fairy tale when the handsome Peter Atherton, one of the wealthiest bachelors in Victorian Manhattan, proposes marriage to her. She can't believe her luck when his family readily accepts her, and suffers disappointment as her husband grows neglectful of her. One evening, Evelyn reluctantly accompanies Peter to a society seance, even though she's not a believer. Three days later, his body is discovered floating in the river, and, the following week ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. calls her "a writer of extraordinary talent." Her books have been chosen by Amazon's Book of the Month, Borders Original Voices and IndieBound's Booksense. A former television ne
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“You learned to run from what you feel, and that's why you have nightmares. To deny is to invite madness. To accept is to control.” 326 likes
“Imagine you come upon a house painted brown. What color would you say the house was?"
"Why brown, of course."
"But what if I came upon it from the other side, and found it to be white?"
"That would be absurd. Who would paint a house two colors?"
He ignored my question. "You say it's brown, and I say it's white. Who's right?"
"We're both right."
"Non," he said. "We're both wrong. The house isn't brown or white. It's both. You and I only see one side. But that doesn't mean the other side doesn't exist. To not see the whole is to not see the truth.”
More quotes…