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The Cloisters    by Katy Hays order for
by Katy Hays
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Katy Hays' The Cloisters is an unusual mix of urban fantasy and mystery, centered on the history of divination. The Prologue is ominous, hinting at dark events to come. Then readers meet art history graduate Ann Stilwell on her way to New York City for summer employment as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When Ann arrives, she's assigned to The Cloisters instead of the Met. It's a gothic museum/garden renowned for a medieval art collection. Ann will work there under its curator, Patrick Roland, and alongside wealthy and entitled Rachel Mondray. Rachel has been studying the history of tarot and that becomes a central theme to this story.

With Rachel as mentor, Ann researches the history of fortune telling. Friendship grows between them, and Ann also becomes close to gardener, Leo (who does a bit more on the side). After Ann discovers an uncanny tarot card needed to complete a fifteenth century deck, she and Rachel hide it from Patrick and become obsessed with it.

Then there's a suspicious death at the Cloisters, and another colleague warns Ann about Rachel's ambition and where it might lead her. The story builds slowly to its surprising conclusion, when Ann takes action to influence her own fate.

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