Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well today! I finally picked up a book that I’ve been meaning to dive into for months now, after the author so kindly gifted me a paperback copy, and I absolutely devoured it, finishing it within 24 hours! This is such an underrated book that I think so many of you will enjoy so I thought I’d post a little review that’ll hopefully give you a little nudge to pick it up!
Title: Mary, Everything
Author: Cassandra Yorke
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, LGBT, Adult
Synopsis: A young woman born in the wrong reality.
A destiny that will lead her into the past.
And a love so enduring it reaches across time – and existence itself – to bring her home.
A gripping tale of best friends and romance, sorcery and survival, at the dawn of the Roaring 20s.
Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.
Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.
Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…
I’d heard some really great things about his book before I picked it up, and the synopsis alone sounds absolutely fantastic, but nothing could have prepared me for what a fun, whirlwind of a ride this book was! Mary, Everything opens in 2004, and follows Courtney who is spending her Summer working in her university’s dusty archives. While out on her lunchbreak one day, she bumps into Sadie – who feels slightly out of place and is dressed in a seriously cool vintage outfit – and the two become quick friends. As Courtney’s work continues, she finds an old yearbook, dating from the 1920s, and she can’t help but think some of those faces are strangely familiar. As a psychopathic stalker starts zoning in on Courtney, and her life becomes more and more endangered, Courtney teams up with a sorceress who fought in WW1, a retired professor and two girls who claim to be her best friend and her true love, to try and make it back to where she truly belongs.
I was instantly sold by the tagline ‘sapphic flappers’, because, come on, who isn’t dying for some 1920s f/f with a bit of magic thrown in there! But I also felt that Cassandra managed to capture the essence of the early 2000s so perfectly; subverting the trope of the stuck up, preppy mean girl and instead making her a sweet yet tough girl who can stand up for herself in a fight, compliments girl’s outfits as she passes them on the street, and listens to punk music on her iPod on the way to work! It was an absolute joy to read from Courtney’s perspective – I loved her take no shit from men attitude, juxtaposed by her love of women and the kindness with which she treats them. I also really loved Sadie – she was a real darling – and I loved her eagerness and curiosity when it came to Courtney’s life. The little bits of 1920s slang peppered into the dialogue was such a nice touch, and I really think that we should bring some of it back (come on, ducky is just such an adorable word!)! Even the characterisation of the villains in the book was done so well – they perfectly emulated and personified what every woman fears about men, and so you felt Courtney and Sadie’s fear alongside them while reading.
The plot kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through! I love time travel books, although I haven’t found too many that I click with, and I think Cassandra’s take on time travel was so inventive, instead taking the parallel-universe theory and different ‘strings’ of universes to explain Courtney’s story. The magic system which related to this time travelling was so interesting too (I don’t want to spoil anything about it, though, as I think it’s fun to discover it alongside Sadie and Courtney), and I can’t wait to learn more about it in the sequel! Furthermore, Cassandra’s writing is just absolutely stunning – the book is full of lush metaphors and gorgeous similes and you can’t help but want to bask in the beautiful wordplay that she has created!
I love, love, loved the inclusion of a sapphic love triangle in the book! They are so few and far between (a tragedy in itself) and I think it was a really fun addition to the book, although I’m not sure who I want to end up together as end-game – I love them all so much! The romance did take a slight back seat to the rest of the plot, however, so if romance isn’t really your cup of tea and you’re looking for a really fun, action packed story, then I think that this one will be really up your street!
Overall, this was a really fun historical-fiction-fantasy-sci-fi novel that I absolutely flew through, devouring Courtney and Sadie’s story from start to finish! It’s a real gutsy, feminist, sapphic story that I know is going to speak to so many people and I can’t wait to see where this series goes!