Graveyard Sparrow: sweet lesbian romance amidst terrors of Victorian horror setting

Graveyard Sparrow by Kayla Bashe is a dark, yet sweet and happily resolved, piece of lesbian paranormal with a Victorian Gothic setting. This is a world where magical powers are somewhat normal, if not common, but women with magical abilities are still at risk from all the patriarchal dangers that women face in the real world. The main characters both have magic, and they fall in love while one is trying to help the other cope with the dangers of her powers.

Meanwhile, a serial killer is leaving behind a trail of corpses. The women try to use their paranormal abilities to solve the crime but they’re being manipulated by the men around them and will have to break free of what they thought was safety if they are to be together or even *safe*.

I liked the romance, growing from friendship and from feeling safe. One quibble I had was that if Miss Sparrow is truly so telepathic that she’s in physical pain from the amount of other people’s thoughts she hears, that she instantly knows when the policeman’s wife is pregnant, why doesn’t she know immediately that her feelings for Miss Garlant are reciprocated? “Because Kayla Bashe likes to write about people who are in love but think their love isn’t reciprocated,” lol. (Meant affectionately.) Or maybe there was a detail in there that I missed, because I read too quickly–this is very possible.

The adventure of this isn’t the mystery, because the audience knows who the villain is from pretty early on. The adventure is in watching the women grow together as friends and partners, and in women rescuing each other, and using magic and bravery to do so.

This was originally self-published but was picked up by an indie press and re-edited, so other people’s reviews might refer to the earlier version.

About Shira

Queer Jewish feminist author
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