Reviews /

The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie

Authored by Yvonne Banham
Published by Firefly Press

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The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie: The protagonist of this tale is twelve-year old Delores Mackenzie who lives on an island off the Scottish mainland. We learn that her parents disappeared, leaving just a note, and now her and older sister Delilah live alone. All of Delores’ family have supernatural abilities. Delores is a necromancer and can communicate with the dead. The spirits that follow Delores are usually friendly until she is chased by a Bòcan – an angry spirit intent on harming her.

When Delilah is sent to Norway for a position with the Psychic Adjustment Society, Delores is forced to go and stay with the ‘Uncles’ in Edinburgh. Uncles Oddvar and Solas are assigned to help her learn to control her dangerous gift so that she can stop attracting dark spirits to the living world.

The Uncles have two other students with paranormal gifts living with them at Tolbooth Book Store in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Prudence is an illusionist, who enjoys playing tricks on Delores and is rude and unfriendly. Gabriel is a seer, and is the one person who makes Delores feel welcome.  As soon as Delores enters the bookstore, she is joined by the spirit of a young girl, Maud. Maud needs her help! Delores must use her powers to stop an evil spirit who feeds on Delores’ energy to try and return to the living.

As the mystery unfolds, we are confronted with a demon gargoyle, a spirit with unfinished business, sinister apparitions and hidden secrets. There are many twists and turns but the author, Yvonne Banham, guides us through them effortlessly. I was unable to put the book down until I found out what happened to Delores and her friends. Yvonne creates beautiful imagery through her words and you can picture the eerie streets of Old Town Edinburgh, the bookstore and the kirkyard. I got shivers reading of cobwebs, spiders and possessed dolls…

The author has created a world to get lost in and I want to know more about Delores Mackenzie and her friends and family. I hope that this book is the first of many in a series. This is a must-read for older primary school children who enjoy spooky and dark stories that send shivers up their spine.