Books·Canadian

Half Spent Was the Night

Half Spent Was the Night is a novel by Ami McKay.

Ami McKay

During the nights between Christmas and New Year's, the witches of New York — Adelaide Thom, Eleanor St. Clair and the youngest, Beatrice Dunn — gather before the fire to tell ghost stories and perform traditional Yuletide divinations. (Did you know that roasting chestnuts was once used to foretell one's fate?)

As the witches roast chestnuts and melt lead to see their fate, a series of odd messengers land on their doorstep bearing invitations for a New Year's Eve masquerade hosted by a woman they've never met. Gossip, dreams and portents follow, leading the witches to question the woman's motives. Is she as benevolent as she seems or is she laying a trap? And so, as Gilded-Age New York prepares to ring in the new year, the witches don their finery and head for the ball, on the hunt for answers that might well be the end of them. (From Knopf Canada)

From the book

December 29, 1881 

Christmas Day has come and gone, the New Year lies ahead. Strange things happen Between the Years, in the days outside of time. Minutes go wild, hours vanish. Idleness becomes a clever thief, stealing the names of the days of the week, muting the steady tick of watches and clocks. These are the hours when angels, ghosts, demons and meddlers ride howling wind and flickering candlelight, keen to stir unguarded hearts and restless minds. 

Tonight, the three Witches of New York, swathed in dressing gowns of velvet and silk, are seated on tasseled pillows before a crackling fire.


From Half Spent was the Night by Ami McKay ©2018. Published by Knopf Canada.

Other books by Ami McKay

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.