Liz Hyder’s, The Gifts, is a hypnotizing Victorian fantasy. Readers explore the perspectives of five characters in 1840 London. Their lives surprisingly intertwine when it seems very unlikely that they should ever meet.

The book resonates science, religion, the limitations women faced then (and can even be related to now) and the cruel reality between power and freedom. A mix of fantasy and historical fiction that will intrigue readers for the titular ‘gifts’ bestowed on these women are: wings – are they a blessing or a curse? How would society react to such beauty, wonder, and sense of otherness? Would it be celebrated or shunned?

I was captivated by the emotions felt and decisions made in this novel. You cannot help but put yourself in the characters’ shoes and rationalize how you would handle the situation. People will throw away everything to achieve a better and higher status. Though, it is heartfelt to read about the compassion and love that others will provide to a complete stranger. It’s the never-ending story…hero versus villain. A big attraction was having very strong females divulge their challenges during this trying time. I highly recommend this title.

Alicia Heinzle, Children’s & Youth Services Librarian

Library Tip: The library has board games you can borrow! Family game night, anyone?