Title: Ghost Talkers
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction, mystery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary:Ginger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Harford, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.
Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.
Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she's just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…
This was a really fun mystery, set in England during world War I. Did I forget to mention that there are mediums and ghosts in this world too?
Ginger is one such medium employed by the British army to conduct seances every day and report the intelligence gathered by the ghosts of the soldiers who died that day. I thought using ghosts as spies was a really unique and clever idea, and I really liked how subtly a supernatural element was introduced as part of the world.
Ginger is awesome! She's really good at what she does, and she's full of courage and tenacity. I loved that she was good friends with the other women in the seance crew, and stood up for them even when faced with prejudice and scorn from superior officers. I also liked her relationship with Ben; it was built on mutual admiration and respect, and the two of them made a great mystery-solving team.
I was really surprised by the identity of the traitor, and I usually have a good nose for this sort of thing. I also really liked how everything wrapped up in the end.
There were hints of this book that reminded me of another book I enjoyed, Karen Memory. I really like how both books don't shy away from the ugly realities of their time periods, including racism and sexism, but still celebrate a diverse group of characters with all their strengths and flaws.
I read this book in a day, and I'd definitely recommend it!
A free eARC was provided by Tor via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review