I find it difficult to explain Mia Dalia’s writing. She writes with passion and it is easy to tell that she puts a lot of work into her stories. There is no way to put her writing into one genre. If I had to summarize Estate Sale, I would say it is historical fiction, occult, mystery, science fiction and a touch of romance.
Alternating between ‘before’ and ‘after’, we follow Pavel and Anastasia over the course of their marriage and their travels. While they traveled and moved throughout the world, they collected many items, which we find out have a history of their own, which feels very science fiction to me. When they both have passed away, an estate sale is hosted. For some of these items, we read who picks them up and the story of the item’s gift, along with how it affects the person who bought it. Most of these items are linked to a specific person in history, giving us the historical part of the story. The occult in this story is a kind of underlying addition to the novel. Don’t let the romance turn you away from reading this. What I mean by romance is that the love between the characters of this novel is felt. Dalia does not tell us about the love, she gives us the feeling of love, thus the romance.
While reading Estate Sale, it is obvious Dalia is gifted in writing in first and third person. There are many layers to Dalia’s writing and the range is unique. I imagine writing in alternating voices such as a man, a woman, same-sex couples, and the elderly — all in one novel — is challenging. However, Dalia makes it seem effortless. Not once did I ever get lost in the alternating characters and timeline.
It is amazing that this is Dalia’s debut novel. I know she has some short stories and a novella, but to put out a novel of this magnitude is amazing. This can’t have been an easy undertaking. The imagination, along with the character building and scenes, is impressive. There is a lot to unpack in this story. I closed the book satisfied, loving the entire story. It ended perfectly, and I experienced this book, which is one step up from reading it.
Review by Tasha Schiedel
Estate Sale by Mia Dalia
“Estate Sale is a sweeping historical horror story rooted in global upheaval and a dark quest for occult secrets. Mia Dalia has penned an epic tale of undying love with bloody repercussions that echo across the centuries. This is one debut novel you don’t want to miss.”
—Douglas Wynne, author of Smoke & Dagger and His Own Devices
“Dark, brooding, and wonderfully creepy, this stunning debut brings to mind the best Gothic works of the past century while charting a territory that is entirely its own. A must for horror fans!”
—Jethro Wegener, author of Lost City Of Terror
I loved it. A clever, erudite and thrilling book! Mia Dalia’s Estate Sale is an original and terrific take on the classic “cursed objects” trope. Blending real historical figures and events and pure occult tales, Mia Dalia weaves a convincing and powerful narrative, which is also a dark portrait of a woman of her times. A must-read for all lovers of literary horror!
—Seb Doubinsky, author of City-States series, co-author of Turning of the Seasons
Mia Dalia’s Estate Sale is at once a love story and a supernatural mystery shifting back and forth across time and geography. It spans various places and events of the past hundred years, such as Paris in the Jazz Age, Aleister Crowley in 1930s Berlin, the London Blitz, and Upstate New York at the dawn of the 21st century. The magical, occult journey of Ana and her husband Pavel begins in Russia on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, and a marriage of convenience between nobility morphs into true love. Pavel, a scholar of the occult, will do whatever it takes to spend eternity with Ana, even if it means imbuing items with magic that touches the lives of people in sinister, frightening ways. This is a fun, engaging, and mysterious read.
—Arthur Shattuck O’Keefe, author of The Spirit Phone