Book Review: Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan

Madame Burova
by Ruth Hogan

Publication date: April 1st 2021
Publisher: John Murray
Pages: 339


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 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. 

Source: Goodreads


“Madame Burova” is my third read by Ruth Hogan, who has now sold over a million books. I think we all just really like that her books are light and easy but full of quirky, likeable characters. This book was no exception and I really enjoyed following Imelda Burova across a span of 50 years.

This story is told in alternating time frames: present day and the 1970s. Imelda connects both times. She’s a tarot card reader, she reads palms and she’s a clairvoyant, all of which she’s been doing in a little booth on the Brighton seafront for the past 50 years.

Our other leading lady, Billie, is recently divorced and has just lost her father when she finds out that she was adopted as a child. Billie has no information about her true heritage until one day she gets a mysterious invitation from Madame Burova and she can’t resist a trip down to the seafront to find out where she once came from.

Flicking back and forth, we uncover the events that lead to Billie’s birth and adoption in the past and follow her in present day as she begins to put together the pieces herself.

I enjoyed this book for the most part. It’s another light, easy read and it’s set a place I recognise, which is always a plus point in my book. I have to say that I enjoyed the present day scenes a lot more than the past, I found them to be a lot more engaging for me and I was much more interested in Billie’s investigation to uncover her past than I was the actual past! Quite strangely, it’s only now I’m realising that Billie must have been around 50 years old in this story. I had been imagining her much younger and my brain clearly hadn’t put the pieces together till today!

There are quite a lot of characters in the 1970s and I did find that it was quite tricky to keep track of them all, but that said, the summer holiday camp setting in which they all met was fun and I think this would make the perfect holiday read.

Overall rating: “Madame Burova” is another fun read by Ruth Hogan. I enjoyed the descriptive writing and following Billie and Imelda as the uncover Billie’s true parentage but got a little lost in the past. It’s another 3 star read for me!

Thank you to Readers First for sending me a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

See my other reviews of books by Ruth Hogan here:

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