A struggling psychic girl steps out into the big, wide world amidst the murky depths of racial segregation in England, 1961.
As a teenage psychic, Josephine Fontaine knows what it’s like to be different. At Peregrine Place, a school full of youngsters with gifts just like hers, sixteen-year-old Josie is growing tired of her life and looking for excitement beyond the grand manor house’s walls. When an opportunity arises to work in a local music bar, she jumps at the chance, learning to balance her new job with the pressures of studying the ways of the Synsk.
There she meets the charming Tommy Asher, a fellow psychic with a talent for music, and Jake Bolton, a handsome, surly stranger with coffee-coloured skin. Throw in the return of her old crush Dai Bickerstaff, and Josie finds herself embroiled in a drama much bigger than she could have imagined, especially when certain parties take issue to her developing a friendship with a boy who isn’t white-skinned. When a mysterious record mogul offers Josie help to improve her psychic gifts, her world turns totally upside down, and she begins to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her family, and even herself.
Coming of age was never so intense as it will be for Josie in the winter of 1961.
“When you’ve quite finished mumbling, young man,” Miss Cartwright said in her clipped tone.
A few people giggled as the boy sank into the seat beside me. He was smaller with the guitar absent from his back, and he seemed much less sure of himself here than when he’d been trying to convince Frost to let him play at Halfway. I reasoned that he must have recently come to the village ready to start school here and spotted the club on the side of the lane just like us. Miss Cartwright cleared her throat, commanding utter silence from the assembled kids.
“Answer me when I call your name,” she instructed. “Let’s make sure we have no dunces who have come to the wrong room.”
The boy looked down at his desk skittishly.
“Thomas Asher,” Miss Cartwright said.
The boy suddenly looked up again, eyes widening. “Oh, um. Yes, Miss,” he replied, “I mean, here, Miss.”
Miss Cartwright gave him her best glare, but said nothing more on the matter. She began to move across the room as she called out names, studying every face in the rows before her.
It’s Tommy actually, a voice suddenly said in my head. Only my nanna calls me Thomas.
I took a deep breath, pushing my mind towards his. Did I give you permission to speak in my head? I asked him.
Although I was tuning out of the room to speak with him, I could still see the outline of his face as he smiled at me; I was caught somewhere partway between reality and full psychic concentration.
Sorry, Tommy answered, but I certainly wasn’t going to whisper out loud with her staring at me. Scary woman, that one.
I tried my best not to giggle. You have no idea, I answered. She’s been teaching me for six years.
Not cool, Tommy replied.
A book suddenly slammed down on my desk. I leapt in my seat, my old, wooden chair rattling as I looked up into the thunderous face of my teacher. “Josephine Fontaine,” she said, her teeth gritted. “Are we in such a state of distraction that we can’t answer our own name on the register nowadays?”
I gave Tommy a withering glare, watching him bite his lip to hold back a laugh.
“Sorry, Miss,” I answered. “But you do know I’m here. I mean, it’s not as though we’re strangers.” I regretted adding the bit after the apology immediately.
“Oh no, we know each other very well,” she answered primly. “I suspect you’re going to be repeating this class until we’re both white-haired and wrinkled.”
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About the author:
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
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Thank you for this fab feature!
Thank for the giveaway. I really like the time setting of this book, so much changed during that decade.
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