An Entertainment Weekly's Best Book of Fall
“Equal parts lush Gothic mystery and delicately wrought 1920s domestic drama. . . . a riveting exploration of the unknowable—whether it’s ghosts, spirits, or the people we love most.”—Tara Isabella Burton, author of The World Cannot Give
In 1920s Edinburgh, Scotland, Evelyn Hazard is a young, middle-class housewife living the life she’s always expected—until her husband, Robert, upends everything with a startling announcement: he can communicate with the dead.
The couple is pulled into the spiritualist movement—a religious society of mediums and psychics that emerged following the mass deaths of the Spanish flu and First World War—and Evelyn’s carefully composed world begins to unravel. And when long-held secrets from her past threaten to come to the surface, presenting her with the prospect of losing all she holds dear, Evelyn finds herself unable to avoid the question: is the man she loves a fraud, a madman, or—most frighteningly—is he telling the truth?
Cloaked in the moody, beguiling backdrop of twentieth-century Scotland, Anbara Salam’s Hazardous Spirits brings a sparkling sense of period detail and dry humor to the life of a young woman whose world is unsettled by mediums and spirits, revealing the devastating secrets that ghosts from the past can tell when given the voice to do so.
Praise for Hazardous Spirits
With the literary lyricism and precise historical detail of a Sarah Waters novel. . . . Salam injects a wry humor into this tale of secrets, lies, and the power of the ghosts of our pasts.
— Entertainment Weekly, A Best Book of Fall
Atmospheric. . . . a believable portrait of the 1920s spiritualism scene. Historical fiction fans will savor this.
— Publishers Weekly
[A] brooding gothic novel. . . . This darkly atmospheric tale asks where the line between charity and deceit lies in a society haunted by those gone too soon.
Charming, evocative and very well researched. . . . If you need me, I will be reading this in bed with a flashlight.
A moving exploration of collective grief and wryly funny. Readers of gothic mysteries, historical fiction, and domestic drama will all find satisfaction within Salam’s atmospheric, layered world.
— Library Journal
Glittering. . . . intoxicating.
— Foreword Reviews
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough and I’m still shaking my head over that ending. Hazardous Spirits is a dark delight, perfect winter reading, no matter what you believe.
Clever. . . . Salam calls attention to family, loyalty, love, and trust.
— Historical Novel Reviews
A darkly sumptuous love letter to the ghosts of Edinburgh past, guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Under its veneer of eccentric frivolity and acerbic wit, Hazardous Spirits is a heartbreaking exploration of collective grief and personal trauma. An exquisitely written work of Caledonian gothic.
— Francine Toon, author of Pine
Equal parts lush Gothic mystery and delicately-wrought 1920’s domestic drama, Hazardous Spirits is a riveting exploration of the unknowable—whether it’s ghosts, spirits, or the people we love most.
— Tara Isabella Burton, author of The World Cannot Give
A darkly sparkling jewel of a book: haunting, vivid and stuffed full of secrets.
— Kirsty Logan, author of Now She is Witch
Unnerving, dark, and rich, Hazardous Spirits is a novel full of heart and strangeness.
— Nell Stevens author of Briefly, A Delicious Life