Page Count 369
Publication date February 2022
Publisher Titan Books
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.
Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.
his was my first read of Victoria Lee, her writing is very atmospheric, the setting of historical Godwin House on Dalloway campus was beautiful and haunting. Unfortunately my love for this novel all but ended there.
Enter pretentious teens, behaving above their station with excessive freedom from supervision and no concern of consequences- as often is the case in YA stories.
A Lesson In Vengeance is a very slow burn. There are secrets from the off, of course, but they aren’t difficult to unravel and the main character’s refusal to see what was brewing under her nose did nothing but continuously irritate me.
Told from the perspective of Felicity, returning to repeat senior year after the mysterious death of her best friend.
Felicity and the four students residing at Godwin House are all wealthy, spoiled ‘literature enthusiasts’, supposedly elite for their esteemed residential status yet seemingly ostracised from the remaining school save for one wheedling limpet Hannah who appears for the sake of plot advancement.
Felicity is our unreliable narrator. Having returned from institutionalisation to the very place her girlfriend died (why would you!?), medicated, confused and fighting against her own imagination, she finds herself entwined with Ellis, an unlikeable teenaged author prodigy.
But Ellis won’t let the past lie and certainly won’t let anything stand in the way of penning her next novel.
A Lesson In Vengeance is a mostly character driven, sapphic romance with just enough spooky witchy fantasy to pull a plot together.
Whilst the relationships between Lee’s characters were very well developed and the writing faultless, unfortunately the plot was predictable and my interest never truly piqued.
However, I can see this appealing to a lot of readers I know so I’m quite sure this is personal taste as opposed to poor quality.
Read if you enjoyed The Furies by Katie Lowe or The Girls by Emma Cline.