Johana Gustawsson: The Bleeding

Today it’s my turn on the blog tour for The Bleeding. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour.


Three women
Three eras
One extraordinary mystery…

1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…


The Bleeding is a novel which defies genre. It’s part police procedural, part mystery, part historical fiction and part supernatural. Gustawsson writes brilliantly and I was drawn into this compelling story so easily. I did not want to stop reading! 

The novel is set over three different timelines and is narrated mostly by three characters: Lucienne in 1899, Lina in 1949 and Maxine in 2002. Gustawsson paints the different periods in history so well that whilst I was reading I felt as though I was living in those times. I loved the characters and their individual chapters gave me the opportunity to get to know them better and become immersed in their lives. I couldn’t wait to discover how they were all connected. 

Through The Bleeding, Gustawsson explores a number of themes which are all clearly researched in great detail, particularly religion and witchcraft. These aspects of the book were incredibly intense and I loved learning more about the different beliefs and practices. 

The plotting in The Bleeding is totally on another level. There is so much going on, but it never feels overcrowded. I’m obviously not going to give away the ending but WOW! 

I am excited that The Bleeding is the beginning of a series and I’m looking forward to seeing where Gustawsson takes it next!

The Bleeding is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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