When a book loudly proclaims “International Bestseller” on the cover, that’s usually code for “Translated from French,” or some equally strange language. A little digging on the copyright page of The Witches of New York reveals that it was, indeed, originally published in a foreign land in 2016… in this case, Canada. Well, that means I can be reasonably sure the author has at least been to New York. You can see why this kind of literary detective work is so important.
Ami McKay lives in Nova Scotia (the greatest land on Earth), and her debut novel The Birth House was a # 1 bestseller in Canada. Her second, The Virgin Cure, was inspired by her great- great grandmother, Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh, a female doctor in nineteenth century New York. McKay was born and raised in Indiana, which is actually farther from New York than Nova Scotia. But we won’t hold that against her.
Publishers Weekly calls The Witches of New York “Wonderful… a sidelong glance at misogyny through a veil of witches, ghosts, and other mystical entities in 1880 New York.” And The Globe and Mail says “Society types straight out of Edith Wharton pursue spiritualism for fun… but McKay widens her scope with grimier episodes… She has a nose for the Dickensian.” It is a Buzzfeed Best Gift Book of the Year.
The Witches of New York was published by Harper Perennial on July 11, 2017. It is 560 pages, priced at $15.99 in paperback, and $9.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Stephen MacKey. Read an excerpt here.