One Minute Book Review – Angelica by Arthur Phillips


This is an unsettling novel where reality and the supernatural blend together. Set in London in the 1880s, it the story of a family on the verge of breakdown. Angelica has spent the first four years of her life sleeping in her parents’ room. When her father, Joseph Barton, moves her into a room of her own, his wife Constance begins to see malevolent spectres hovering over Angelica’s bed. Constance, physically and psychologically fragile after multiple miscarriages and Angelica’s traumatic birth, seeks the help of a spiritualist. Joseph, a scientist with secrets of his own, turns to a psychiatrist for help for his wife. The story is told from four perspectives, Constance, the spiritualist, Joseph and finally Angelica, none are reliable.

The prose is Victorian and, as such, the story is not a quick read but is ultimately compelling. In the end, it is the reader who will decide whether this is a psychological or, indeed, a ghost story.

A detailed review can be found here.


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