‘The Cloisters’ – Katy Hays

A coming-of-age story with a dark undercurrent reminiscent of The Secret History.

Ann Stilwell has moved to New York to take up a research post. Upon her arrival she learns the post no longer exists, but a chance meeting sees her seconded to The Cloisters, a gothic museum. Under the tutelage of the curator, Patrick, Ann is tasked with research. What she is looking for is not immediately apparent, but it is linked to ideas about fortune and fate.

Drawn slowly into this world of academia, it’s evident that nobody is quite what they seem. Ann’s curiosity soon becomes obsessive and it is clear that her unexpected discovery is going to become something significant. She is warned about Rachel, the graduate who takes her under her wing. But it soon becomes clear that Ann is not quite the naive ingénue she depicts herself as.

A slow burner. The atmosphere builds slowly, developing in a very unexpected way. I found myself rather open-moved at the revelation about Ann very near the end of the book, but this then helps to explain a particularly unexpected course of action.

I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this prior to publication and look forward to sampling more by this debut author.