Hello Gemmies! I have a book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.
The Conductors by Nicole Glover is the first book in the Murder and Magic series. I absolutely loved this mystery set in Post Civil War Philadelphia. It is full of historical references, intrigue, murder, and mayhem with a supernatural twist. I love historical fiction mixed with the paranormal, so The Conductors was right up my alley! Part speculative fiction, part mystery, part magic, The Conductors has it all. Nicole Glover has created a unique world that feels both familiar and brand new. What makes everything come alive for me are all the intricate details of Post Civil War life. From the clothing, living conditions, work life, food, transit, and the lingering effects of slavery. There is also an inventive and complex magical system that ties everything together. In this alternate version of U.S. history, magic openly exists. Slaves with magic were forbidden from using it and even after Slavery was abolished oppressive laws were put in place to limit the use and access to certain types of magic. Nicole Glover tackles some heavy topics in a historical fantasy setting. As such I must give a trigger warning for sensitive readers, there are depictions of slavery, racism, sexism, gore, and murder.
The Conductors is also an extremely well written character driven story. We follow former Underground Railroad conductors and married couple Hetty and Benjy, as they solve mysteries and murders impacting the Black Community. Hetty is witty, independent, daring, and a bit unsociable. She was totally relatable for me and made me want to learn more about her. I really loved the subtle romantic undertones of Hetty and Benjy's relationship. We follow along as a marriage of convenience slowly turns into something more. There is also a whole varied cast of engaging characters. The pacing of the story was a bit slow in the beginning but it was still enjoyable. And let us not forget about the magical murdery goodness and suspense. There are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing throughout. To put it shortly, The Conductors is a bloody good time!
This gem published by Mariner Books is available for purchase from all major booksellers. I give The Conductors 4 out of 5 gems. If you love historical fiction, murder mysteries, and supernatural intrigue then read this book! I look forward to reading more stories set in this universe. Happy Reading!