book cover of The Cloisters
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The Cloisters

A novel by


A Today Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick

“For fans of The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Secret History…The perfect mystery for fall.” —Jenna Bush Hager, Today

In this “sinister, jaw-dropping” (Sarah Penner, author of The Lost Apothecary) debut novel, a circle of researchers uncover a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York’s famed Met Cloisters.

When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres,
The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"A sharply smart, engaging debut exploring art, desire, ambition, and privilege set in the mysterious, opulent, famed Cloisters museum in Upper Manhattan, with dark surprises through its final pages. Hays's smooth narration deftly conjures the complex, sexy webs between her characters...A fun, seductive, intelligent read." - Nicola DeRobertis-Theye

"Prepare to lose your entire afternoon to The Cloisters, first for its atmosphere, a medieval museum at the tip of Manhattan, and then to pursuing a young scholar in her search for an ancient tarot deck, while keeping a sharp eye on the brilliant, attractive colleagues who may be out to help her or kill her. Good luck staying ahead of this one and have a great time poring over the many treasures inside." - Maria Hummel

"A tour de force by an important new voice, The Cloisters begins as a fish-out-of-water story. But as Katy Hays deftly weaves in layer after layer of the occult, art, and academia, it turns into a rich tapestry that speaks to issues of privilege, power, and ambition--and, more than anything, the darkness lurking just inside ivory towers. Virtuosic and incredibly compelling, The Cloisters grabbed me in a way that no book has done since The Secret History." - Rachel Kapelke-Dale

"A story of academic obsession, Renaissance magic, and the ruthless pursuit of power. Captivating in every sense of the word." - Sarah Pearse

"Sultry and sinister...Hays's debut teems with sexual tension, the secrets of divination, and scholarly obsessiveness. With a jaw-dropping twist at the end, The Cloisters serves as a warning to us all: we may think we know what life has in store, but fate and fortune tend to turn their own tricks." - Sarah Penner

"Hays's mesmerizing debut feels like the air before a summer storm--thick and sinister, shimmering with tension. A seductive unfurling of lies, envy, and the pull of the occult, The Cloisters does for tarot what The Secret History did for Greek class. This sharp, shadowy book held me in thrall from beginning to star-crossed end." - Sara Sligar

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