Book Review: The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie

Title: The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie

Written by:  Yvonne Banham 

Published by: Firefly Press

The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie is a tale of identity and one girl’s quest to discover where she fits in. The story opens with a chase and then after the initial adrenaline rush calms right down. Delores is sent to live with her Uncles in the Tolbooth Book Store in Edinburgh, which overlooks a graveyard because her sister, Delilah,  is afraid her powers are getting stronger and she needs the Uncles training to control them. The setting is effectively dark and gloomy creating a truly gothic experience for the reader.

We learn about Delores new home and its occupants. We get to know Delores, her hopes, fears and dreams. The plot is laced with ghostly phenomenon, spooky locations and a whole host of entertaining characters each with their own unique paranormal gift.

Delores herself is a necromancy, which means she can speak to dead people. Her friend Gabriel is a diviner. Her has the ability to read people’s emotions and uses tarot cards to foretell their fate. Prudence is Delores nemesis. She is an illusionist, able to plant suggestions and visions in people’s minds. She takes great pleasure in teasing Delores by making all her food look and taste disgusting. The Bocan are restless spirits that are drawn to Delores power. Maud is a ghost who Delores believes used to be a past student of the Uncles. Delores realises Maud is in danger from the Angel Barguest, who wants to reclaim her life, and vows to help her. In order to succeed all the characters must put aside their feelings and learn to cooperate.

This is an incredibly dark story in places with some excellent tension-filled descriptions, which certainly get your heart pumping. Delores and her companions race to escape Angel Barguest and decipher what exactly is happening. The paranormal elements have been well thought out and utilised throughout the book. We get the impression there is a larger paranormal world out there and the organisation that monitor it are not always successful. We never discover what happened to Delores parents and I believe the book is open to a sequel to delve deeper into these questions.

A dynamic adventure, full of twists and turns with plenty of mysteries to solve. Ideal for readers in Years 5 to 8 who enjoy stories about the supernatural and solving puzzles.

I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to review this book.

You can buy copies of The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie by Yvonne Banham, which was released on April 6th 2023, from your local bookshop, or online at, an organisation with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops.

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