The Love Wager

The Love Wager


In An Orchard Grown From Ash

In An Orchard Grown From Ash

On the Nature of Magic



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A Gothic supernatural mystery for fans for The Quickening and The Shape of Darkness, featuring real-life events and people, such as George Méliès and the Moberly-Jourdain incident, where two English women claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette in the gardens of Versailles.


Helena Walton-Cisneros, known for finding answers to the impossible, has started her own detective agency. She takes on two new uncanny cases, both located in Paris – which itself is too much of a coincidence to ignore. In the first case, two English women claim to have seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette in the gardens of Versailles. The second case is the murder of a young woman working at the mysterious Méliès Star Films studio outside Paris.

As Helena and her colleague Eliza investigate, they hear whispers of vanishings at Méliès Star Films, strange lights, spies, actors flying without ropes and connections to the occult.

What is George Méliès practising at his secretive film studio? And is it connected to the haunting in Versailles? Helena and Eliza will only find the answers if they accept the natural world is darker, stranger than they could ever have imagined…

Shipping Starts: 4th week of June-2023

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SKU: BOOK-514 Category: Tags: , GTIN: 978-1803361345


On the Nature of Magic:


“With a plot as labyrinthine as the catacombs of Paris, this is a hugely imaginative exploration of what happens when science and magic collide, and an insightful depiction of female companionship and determination.”
Lucie McKnight Hardy, author of Water Shall Refuse Them

“An intricately built tale of history, spiritualism, and magic; perfect for fans of Susannah Clarke.”
A.C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling

“Marian Womack is fiendishly inventive. She creates magic.”
Priya Sharma, author of Ormeshadow

“Like the fantastical early cinema at the centre of its plot, On the Nature of Magic occupies a region midway between science and sorcery – and Marian Womack excels at the tricky balancing act, mixing methodical deductive processes with bursts of wild imagination. Highly recommended to all lovers of gaslit crime and the Gothic!”
Tim Major, author of Sherlock Holmes and The Twelve Thefts of Christmas

“An intoxicating journey through the occult demi-monde of the fin de siècle. Womack leads us down into an underworld rife with deceit and strange dangers.”
Verity Holloway, author of The Others of Edenwell

“The intricate plot seamlessly weaves together mystery, fantasy and some very curious historical incidents. A delightfully detailed puzzle box of a book.”
A.J. Elwood, author of The Cottingley Cuckoo

About the Author

Marian Womack, author of The Golden Key and The Swimmers, was born in Andalusia and educated in the UK. Her debut short story collection, Lost Objects (Luna Press, 2018) was shortlisted for two BSFA awards and a BFA award. She is a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and she holds degrees from Oxford and Cambridge universities. Marian lives in Cambridge, at the edge of the Fens.

Author can be found online at

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Additional information

Weight500 g
Dimensions24 × 18 × 5 cm
Binding Style



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