The Cloisters by Katy Hays
I inhaled this book and now I need to talk about it. This was marketed as the next generations answer to The Secret History, which it wasn’t, but it definitely brought all the academic, gothic, esoteric vibes to the table.
Ann comes from a small town and she wants more. Against all odds she gets a highly competitive summer internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but when she arrives is sent to The Cloisters, a smaller museum and garden renowned for its collection of medieval and Renaissance art.
There she descends into chaos, drawn into secrets and mysteries. She falls under the spell of a fellow researcher whilst trying to impress the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling through the study of renaissance occult and astrology.
This was seriously clever, the mist seeps from the pages, and you really feel the eeriness of The Cloisters. I loved it for the first hundred or so pages, but I needed more pace and more from the characters. There are twists, there is development but it felt too tidy. Hays sets the scene beautifully, any lover of history, tarot or academia would adore so many elements of this.
I didn’t find it a hard read, in fact I sped through it and for the most part I was enthralled. The reviews range from professing undying loyalty to the author to huge disappointment, so this one has divided the crowd. If you are after a deeply atmospheric, ode to museums, art and research with a hint of magic, twists and turmoil than this might be all you could want from a book. For a dark night under the covers this was perfection but it left me wanting more. C
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