Goods by Hand is an exquisite blend of sweet romance, flavored with paranormal mysteries, and spiced with psychological terror that kept me reading well past my bedtime. A mesmerizing array of characters revolves around the central character of Mina, a woman whose relationship difficulties virtually tear apart the lives of her friends. A writer who is controlled by her psychologically abusive husband, Mina begins as a weak and frightened prisoner of her husband’s will. Buoyed by the love and support of the Miller family she hangs on to her sanity by a thin thread.
The Miller clan is headed by matriarch Saffron; a woman with a secret that has protected the family for generations. Known for her skilled use of natural methods to cure colds, stomach aches, and all sorts of ailments, Saffron has an additional skill she keeps hidden. This mysterious ability is passed from mother to daughter but Saffron is not certain her daughter Omikia should be the next recipient of the talent and the tools necessary to use it.
Saffron is a good woman with a big heart. But her love for her family and her friend Mina leads her to perform acts that may become her undoing. Much like Stephen King’s Pet Semetary or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Saffron steps over the edge to play God.
Goods By Hand is a fascinating story with complex characters and intricate layers. As each layer is peeled back another intriguing layer is exposed. Some readers may have difficulty with the dialogue since it is very British. But it is never unclear what is happening. The flavor of the tale is an intricate composition of magic, madness, and mystery. I was extremely impressed with this book and find Robyn Cain’s writing style a breath of fresh air in the sometimes stale and repetitive techniques of current horror writers. Because in the end this is a horror story; the horrors of domestic abuse, voodoo like magic, and murder. It is, in a word, brilliant.