Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Clairvoyants” as Want to Read:
The Clairvoyants
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Clairvoyants

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Karen Brown’s most hypnotic novel to date--gothic-inflected psychological suspense that unmasks the secret desires of a young woman with a mystical gift

On the family homestead by the sea where she grew up, Martha Mary saw ghosts. As a young woman, she hopes to distance herself from those spirits by escaping to an inland college town. There, she is absorbed by a budding rom
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Clairvoyants, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Henry Holt The Clairvoyants is adult fiction but we do think young adult readers will enjoy it.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  521 ratings  ·  129 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Catherine ♡
Actual Rating: 2.0

First of all, I was totally drawn in by the beautiful cover. It reminded me a bit of the covers for Mara Dyer, a series I absolutely loved. The blurb kind of reminded me of that too - both a little creepy and paranormal feeling, so I was excited to read this.

The Clairvoyants follows Martha Mary. She sees ghosts. When she tries to escape them, she ends up at a college far away from home, away from her sister, and away from her past. But then Mary Rae appears beneath her window.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic
Martha sees dead people. Usually it's not a problem, she ignores them and they go away. That is until she moves to Ithaca, New York to go to college and sees missing posters all over town for a girl named Mary Rae who then begins appearing under her window. Martha tries to push aside thoughts of Mary Rae as she begins a new chapter of her life by taking classes, beginning a love affair with William, a professor at her college, and reuniting with her sister Dell who leaves the mental hospital to ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Full review & giveaway on my blog:
Karen M
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, first-reads defines Gothic literature as “a style of writing that is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense.”

In my own definition of Gothic literature I have to add the subtlety required to slowly build the story to the realization that all is not what it seems to be. Karen Brown has used subtlety to create a true Gothic story. You question every ev
I'm not really sure why the title is The Clairvoyants plural, because it's really just the narrator Martha Mary who's all:

Perhaps the other clairvoyant is supposed to be her younger sister, Del (short for Delores), with whom she scammed the other neighborhood children (and at least one adult), but that was all before MM received her actual gift/curse and Del ended up spending her teen years in a mental institution. Something happened one summer that turned MM into a recluse and Del into a wild
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Again I'm conflicted, this is supposed to be a " hypnotic psychological mystery"... ( sigh...) for someone so supposedly psychologically damaged, yet so paranormally gifted, Martha Mary is one of the dullest characters ever written about.
She has had visions but chooses to dismiss them, to the point where they are even bored with her presence. Until 'hark' she leaves home to attend college and murders start popping up like dandelions.
Even then she has found her self a boyfriend , also a clarvoi
Ian Mathers
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, rt
It almost feels like cheating to call this fantasy (which is I think the auspices under which I reviewed it); it's really just more of a literary novel with a slight supernatural edge. That's not a complaint, though; Brown's grasp on her narrator's voice and the tone and timbre of the whole story is an extremely sure one, and it's as compelling as it is occasionally unreliable. Although the rough outlines of some of the sharper revelations aren't hard to see coming from a ways off, they still ha ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read about a girl who sees dead people, but it freaks her out and wants nothing to do with them. So tho she has the power to help others and ease their worries and fears, she does not. She also has a past. I really enjoyed this. Thank you to those who have gifts and share them with others.
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Martha can see ghosts. When she decides to go away to college, she's hoping she can leave all that behind, but on the first day in her new home, she sees the ghost of a missing local woman (Mary Rae) and she becomes way more involved than she ever wanted to be.

Martha ends up meeting Mary Rae's friends and starts dating William, who also used to date Mary Rae. Martha and William get married just months after meeting, but from the start, their relationship has major problems. Martha's sister Del a
Ali (the bandar blog)
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017

the bandar blog
The Clairvoyants by Karen Brown is billed as a gothic ghost story set in modern times. The main character sees ghosts (!!), and ultimately finds herself down the path of trying to determine the mystery of a murdered girl, running into some murky waters along the way. The story ultimately ended up reading like a lowkey thriller combined with a ghost story, and it was a ton of fun to read.

What I liked:
1. Karen Brown's writing! She did such a fantastic job. It perfectly set the mood and always
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I came across a review of this book and the reviewer stated that this is not a ghost story. I disagree. Ghosts play a dominant role in this story of a young woman who leaves her home for college and a more independent lifestyle only to be accosted by the specter of a local missing woman. Throw in a new love, a younger sister with a fierce free-spiritness, undisclosed family secrets and you have the mixture for a titillating plot.

I thank NetGalley for the ARC of this book that comes out this mont
Rita Ciresi
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have long been a fan of Karen Brown's lush, descriptive prose. In my opinion, The Clairvoyants is her best work to date. The story of two sisters--one emotionally disturbed, the other clairvoyant--takes many mysterious twists and turns. Readers who expect a traditional ghost story or paranormal novel should be aware that this is more of a literary exploration of those forms--less action-driven, and more atmospheric and moody. The descriptions of place are sublime.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the best book I've read in months. It's extremely well-written. At a little over 300 pages, the author doesn't waste your time with pages of filler that aren't relevant to the story. The story line keeps you interested. I almost didn't read the book because of the title but it's more of a study of family relationships that are strained or completely broken. There could have been a little more clarification at the end but it didn't completely go off the rails, like some books.
Alyssa Palombo
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mesmerizing, at times disturbing novel, with lush, dreamlike prose and vivid imagery. This is a book I know will stay with me. Also, loved the fact that one of my favorite buildings in Buffalo, the Buff State Psych Center, plays a role in the novel!
Susan Johnson
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karen Brown's new novel, The Clairvoyants, is a suspenseful, modern-day ghost story with tantalizing characters. Martha Mary and her mentally unstable sister, Dell, wander through the snowy world of Ithaca, NY in the dead of winter in search of ghosts. Their quest leads them to unsavory partners and parties, and eventually to a search that uncovers the mystery that has been haunting them since they came to town. Little do they realize as they stumble from one clue to the next just how deep this ...more
Rachel Sakitis
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book free from Goodreads. Excellent book. One of the best books I have read this year. Right from the start "The Clairvoyants" has you at the end of your seat. I could not read this book fast enough. Each page is full of twists and turns that has the reader full of anticipation of what is to come.

I would definitely recommend this book to all my reader friends.
Christine Matha
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully relaxing spooky read! Well written and kept me guessing! I am so glad I started my yearly reading off with this! It was creepy with out the bloody gore. I truly enjoyed reading a book that was not a chore and made me want to pick it up again when I had to stop. So glad to have had the luck to receive this book as a give away! Now I have the task to find one I enjoy as much!
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In elegant prose, Brown tells an icy ghost(s) story, deftly creating an intricate world where the past and the present, the dead and the living, is irrevocably interlaced. It’s an atmospheric, sprawling and spooky tale that grows rich in detail and complication, and rewards with striking revelations, indelible imagery, and a plot that moves like your bowels after four cups of coffee.
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully written. Gothic elements that don't smack you in the face. This book creeps up on you. Serious chills and thoroughly enjoyable.
3.5 stars

Martha Mary is a girl who can see the dead. In an attempt to start a new life free from her past, she goes away to college in another state. Here she rents her first apartment, and begins her first love affair. But the past is not so easy to escape. Her unstable sister leaves the institution she has been staying at for the last three years, and comes to stay with Martha. And a local missing girl named Mary Rae (read: a ghost) begins appearing to Martha as well.

I was pretty excited abou
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The Clairvoyants by Karen Brown
3.5 Stars

From The Book:
On the family homestead by the sea where she grew up, Martha Mary saw ghosts. As a young woman, she hopes to distance herself from those spirits by escaping to an inland college town. There, she is absorbed by a budding romance, relieved by separation from an unstable sister, and disinterested in the flyers seeking information about a young woman who’s disappeared―until one Indian summer afternoon when the missing woman appears beneath Martha
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads-2017
This was a good read. I love this type of books where someone see's dead people. This had that and more. It had murders and mysteries. Took a little while for the action to start but once it did it did not disappoint.
Penney Peirce
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
The cover is very attractive, but I only made it through chapter 5 before I gave up. I really, really wanted this to be intriguing and insightful, since I make my living as an intuitive, and love all things metaphysical, but I was bored and disappointed. There is too much needless detail, a very slow-moving style, and the use of the past perfect verb tense instead of just a simple past tense removed me from the immediacy of the "action"—what there was of it. Brown seemed to think she had to expl ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me a bit to get into the book but once I did I couldn't put it down. Really enjoyed it!
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was not at all what I expected. It was oddly intriguing. I can't say I liked any of the characters, and it bounced around a little too much for my taste, but I couldn't put it down! In other words, it was a good story with some interesting twists.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 1/2

After reading the blurb and having a fascination with paranormal stories, I was definitely coming to The Clairvoyants expecting something different from what I received, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, does it?

There is something dreamlike about the way in which Karen Brown has conveyed this story, a feeling of timelessness. As I was reading, I felt an old-fashioned quality rise, from the use of “old” names like Martha and Delores to the gatherings at Anne’s, where artis
Ashley Moran
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the beautiful writing in this mystery/ghost story. One of my favorite books of the year and I have read a lot of books this year!
Enchanted Prose
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Believing the unbelievable (Connecticut shoreline and Ithaca, New York; sometime after the late 90s): If you told me I’d be raving about a paranormal novel in which the central character – Martha Mary – sees the dead, I wouldn’t believe you.

The Clairvoyants is psychological intrigue that eclipses abnormal mysteries of the psyche to significant supernatural realms. With terrific prose, Karen Brown manages to pull off her parapsychological story so believably, blending past and present, truth vers
Petie Reed
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I picked up a book and didn't set it down until I finished it. I really loved everything about the book. The writing was beautiful. The relationship between the sisters was complicated and interesting. It wasn't a predictable "ghost story". Highly recommend.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eerie and addictive. A wonderful ghost story with a few WTF moments!
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Death in the Shadows (Father Gilbert Mystery #2)
  • A Farm In The Hidewood:  My South Dakota Home
  • Mademoiselle Gigi (Gigi Series, #1)
  • Finding Steele (North Bay Pursuits, #1)
  • The Hour of the Innocents
  • Beyond Rue Morgue Anthology: Further Tales of Edgar Allan Poe's 1st Detective
  • Seven Days to Hell (Savage Texas, #5)
  • The Last Director of Shoreditch
  • Anything but Civil (Hattie Davish Mystery, #2)
  • Part Swan, Part Goose: An Uncommon Memoir of Womanhood, Work, and Family
  • Rough Passage to London: A Sea Captain's Tale
  • The Worst Breakfast
  • Tuning In
  • Fractures
  • The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne (Verlaque and Bonnet, #5)
  • Gwendolen
  • The Crystal Ribbon
  • Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (Cardwell Ranch, #4, Cardwell Cousins, #1)
See similar books…
Karen Brown’s Little Sinners and Other Stories was named a Best Book of 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly; her previous collection, Pins and Needles received AWP’s Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction; and her first novel, The Longings of Wayward Girls, was published in 2013 by Washington Square Press. The Clairvoyants is forthcoming from Henry Holt in February 2017. Her work has been featured in The PEN/ ...more