Readers' Favorite

May 31, 2021

Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke ~ a Review

by MK French

After her father's death in the Great War, Samantha Knox gave up dreams of archaeological adventure and stayed in the antique bookshop where she works. A mysterious package changes all that, as men arrive intent on stealing the damaged diary. Sam, her best friend, and her childhood crush embark on an adventure revealing an order intent on performing an occult ritual that will raise the Specter Queen, the Celtic goddess of vengeance and death. Sam must solve a complex cipher to find the relic needed for the ritual before the order can incite the biggest war the world has ever seen.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Curse of the Specter Queen
June 2021; Disney-Hyperion; 978-1368063982
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); fantasy mystery
Curse of the Specter Queen
 is a 1920's era mystery and adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones with a woman as the lead. Sam is intrigued by puzzles and codes, though she hasn't participated in that since her father's death. She buried herself in her work and has few relationships. The best friends she used to have grew distant, but the mysterious diary and the men pursuing it burning down the bookshop forces them all back together. It's a fun puzzle of language, history, and the threat of danger as everyone moves from Chicago to New York to Dublin.

While we have a slow start, learning more about Sam, Jo, and Bennett, as well as the people they meet along the way, the tale picks up speed after the halfway mark and especially in the final third. That's when we truly get the Indiana Jones feel to the novel. Sam is the one able to connect the dots, and the men wind up following her lead. The magic and curse that they fear are more than just a story... Think Raiders of the Lost Ark, where you go along with the characters thinking it's a myth only to find out that there is truth behind it as well. I would love to see this continue as a series.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. Ooh this sounds fun! I love historical mysteries like this with a little flair for the mysterious. :)