Book Review: Madame Burova

I usually post my reviews on a Monday or Friday, and I forgot to write this for Monday, but that’s ok. Better late than never, right?


Madame Burova – Tarot Reader, Palmist and Clairvoyant is retiring and leaving her booth on the Brighton seafront after fifty years.

Imelda Burova has spent a lifetime keeping other people’s secrets and her silence has come at a price. She has seen the lovers and the liars, the angels and the devils, the dreamers and the fools. Her cards had unmasked them all and her cards never lied. But Madame Burova is weary of other people’s lives and other people’s secrets, she needs rest and a little piece of life for herself. Before that, however, she has to fulfill a promise made a long time ago. She holds two brown envelopes in her hand, and she has to deliver them.

In London, it is time for another woman to make a fresh start. Billie has lost her university job, her marriage, and her place in the world when she discovers something that leaves her very identity in question. Determined to find answers, she must follow a trail which might just lead right to Madame Burova’s door.

In a story spanning over fifty years, Ruth Hogan conjures a magical world of 1970s holiday camps and seaside entertainers, eccentrics, heroes and villains, the lost and the found. Young people, with their lives before them, make choices which echo down the years. And a wall of death rider is part of a love story which will last through time.


I’m grateful to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan. Thank you!

I read another book by Ruth Hogan – ‘The Book of Lost Things’, and I have to say, I suppose I was expecting something similar as I loved that book quite a bit.

This wasn’t a book I loved, but I did enjoy reading it overall. It tells the story of Madame Burova, who is a Tarot Reader, Palmist, and Clairvoyant. In present times she is retiring from the many years spent reading people’s fortunes, but it jumps between the present day to when she first took over from her mother, Shunty-Mae. It delves into the life of both Madame Burova, but also a bunch of different characters who are entertainers at Larkins, a holiday camp, as well as Billie in present day. I have to say, one of the things I did like about the book was the array of different characters. They each had their own personality, and you could clearly tell the difference between all of them.

With Billie, I kept seeing her as a young person, whereas actually she’s approx. fifty years old, which was strange. Not sure if that’s how she was written, but in any case, I had to keep reminding myself she was older. I felt that there might have been something with Treasure, but it never materialised.

I quite liked the setting of the book, and definitely got a feel for the seaside resort, Madame Burova’s Tarot Reading set-up, and the setting of Brighton – which I love Brighton and have been there a fair few times, so I definitely could imagine the setting very well.

I felt this was quite an easy read, easy to pick up and jump back into; it wasn’t a complicated plot. I guessed who the mother was certainly before the end, and even the father before it was materialised. One thing I didn’t like was how sudden the reveal of the father was! The ending seemed sudden and I was a bit disappointed over that.

So, if you’re after an easy holiday read, I recommend this book. The characters are vivid on the page, and I thought it was a nice touch with Imelda’s dogs! It’s certainly more chick-lit/popular fiction if you like that sort of thing.

Overall I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.


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