Set in the late 1800s, Gemma Doyle is a normal sixteen year old wanting to go to London to get civilized by going to school in the city. Not living in India with her parents. When her mother dies in front of her eyes by a supernatural thing, Gemma is immediately aware of something else in this world that she never knew existed. I thought when I first started this book that it was going to be about the pettiness of girls all living together but this book is really not at all about that. It’s more about the secrets each girl holds, Gemma, Felicity, Pippa, and Ann, that brings them all together, but also tears them apart. Because in this society, anything that makes you different, makes you unmarriagable, which is the worst of sins for a lady. Family pressure to be perfect, shame, guilt, fear, lose, these girls have it all, and each one wishes they were in the other one’s shoes. Which is what we go through today, it being interesting to me how much has changed since that time, but really how much hasn’t. Yes, this book was written in 2003 not 1890, but I’m totally sure that women had a lot of the same struggles that we do now. With self worth, comparing herself to others, worrying about shaming her family and herself. It’s different now, in the ways to be shameful of course, but it’s still there. I didn’t like the supernatural-ness of the story however. It was all about spirits and witchery and not the methodical kind. It was all a little too real for me and it made me uncomfortable to read. It didn’t really feel like pure fantasy for me, more like girls calling to spirits around a campfire drunk, and it going horribly wrong. It was just a little too realistic for me.