Ruth Hogan: Madame Burova

This review is written with thanks to the publisher for my copy of Madame Burova via Netgalley.


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, their ghosts from the past 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’ve never read anything by Ruth Hogan before, but I will be doing so in future as I really enjoyed Madame Burova. Her writing style is uncomplicated but she manages to draw the reader in to her characters’ world so easily so I could lose myself in her words. 

Madame Burova has a dual timeline, alternating between the early 1970s and the present day. Many of the characters are recurring characters and it was interesting to see what had happened in their lives in the intervening years. In the present day, there is a mystery with its roots in the past and I enjoyed trying to work out what the answers were. I did work this out before the reveal, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of it. 

The strength of this novel lies in its characters and I found that I was able to invest in every single one, even those who don’t appear regularly. There are moments of humour and moments of sadness and I felt emotionally connected to each element of the story. The author explores a number of themes in the novel and this adds to its richness. 

Madame Burova is available from Amazon.

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