Spitting Gold

Spitting Gold


Paris, 1866. When Baroness Sylvie Devereux receives a house call from Charlotte Mothe, the sister she disowned, she fears her shady past as a spirit medium has caught up with her. But with their father ill and Charlotte unable to pay his bills, Sylvie is persuaded into one last con. Their marks are the de dysfunctional aristocrats who believe they are haunted by their great aunt, brutally murdered during the French Revolution. The scheme underway, the sisters deploy every trick to terrify the family out of their gold. But when inexplicable horrors start to happen to them too, the duo question whether they really are at the mercy of a vengeful spirit. And what other deep, dark secrets may come to light?

Our Review

Spitting Gold is set in 1866 in Paris and focuses on the Mothe sisters, two acclaimed and fraudulent mediums.

Baroness Sylvie Devereaux has tried to leave her scandalous past behind her, until one day she sees a stranger on the corner, looking up at her window.

"My husband always warned me to be cautious: a man of his position was sure to make enemies sure to merit blackmail. Every secret that I had ever held churned within my brain as I tried to find one that would explain the strange apparition." 

Sylvie has a lot of secrets to pass over in her former life as Sylvie Mothe, not least her disowned sister Charlotte Mothe. Charlotte has come to her with stories of debt arising from the terminal illness of their father. 

"It was not like my sister would have come for anything else, not after how we parted."

Charlotte questions whether Sylvie can really be happy with the lifestyle she is living, does she not miss the danger. Sylvie, appearing somewhat reluctant, agrees to one last con. 

I felt like the characters of Sylvie and Charlotte were particularly lifelike and the balance between sibling rivalry and reluctant familial obligation was well written. Fortunately, my siblings and I have had relatively few moments where we have been at odds with each other, but the fraught and delicate nature of the Mothe sister's relationship still felt familiar to me. 

Sylvie soon feels herself torn between two worlds, her old and her new life, and struggling to keep the two seperate. 

"And now here you are: you Sylvie Mothe. The people who had known me by that name would hardly have believed where I was today. And the people who knew me as the Baroness Devereaux, well...They never needed to know the details of the rock out from under which I had crawled."

The title Spitting Gold is taken from an old fairy tale about two sisters, one 'good' and one 'bad'. The good is kind to a fairy and is rewarded by gold coins falling from her mouth whenever she speaks, the bad sister is unkind to the same fairy and is punished by having toads fall from her mouth. However, as is pointed out in the story, the 'bad' sister was tricked and so perhaps wasn't really bad after all. It's all a matter of perspective.

I liked that the story was split into two parts, and the second part confronted our judgements and the readers think about the circumstances which had brought Charlotte to make the decisions she had. To choose to con people in order to survive. It also made the reader think about who was really the 'bad' sister in this scenario, and what it was like to be left behind.In fact, I feel like the whole book subtly questions the roles and rules forced upon women at that time. Can we really judge the actions of two people who are both trapped in very different ways by their status in society?

It is clear from the beginning that there are many secrets within the De Jacquintot family, and the ghost of their ancestor is the least of those secrets, Maximillan, the eldest son is sceptical of the existence of the spirit and plainly believes that the whole haunting is a fallacy. Florence, is the one who has been most subjected to the spirit and at first glance is a bit of a 'wilting flower', although societal gossip suggests this may not have always been the case. The Comte seems to have become more religious in old age, but why, it seems this wasn't always the case, his room covered in crucifixes, but why? Just one of many mysteries.

"It was almost as if they had been placed there as a protective ward. Against what? The ghost? But then why would a man so certain he was being visited by a beloved aunt take such extreme measures to prevent her from approaching him?"

I have to admit it was the supernatural aspects of the tale that initially drew me in but I found that the relationship between the two sister's was what kept me reading.Spitting gold may be obstensibly about the supernatural, but the real story lies in the lot of women, and this is where the true value of the book lies. 


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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