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Winner of the 2024 Eric Hoffer

Book Award for General Fiction

A woman seeks to heal her maternal grief through a secret obsession with the girl next door, and together they confront ghosts real and imagined in this hauntingly poignant novel.

In a small secluded town that thrives on gossip and superstition, Dottie offers plenty of both when the scandal breaks about a missing girl, a ghost, and the affair that started it all. Having suffered a history of miscarriages, reclusive Dottie develops a strange motherly interest in her 15-year-old neighbor, Magdalena. Somewhere between fantasy and reality, Dottie finds new life in her relationship with the mysterious girl. But Dottie's entanglements with Magdalena, a curious centenarian, a compelling stranger, an ex-mobster, and a murder of crows thrusts this once cloistered woman into a frenzy of public scrutiny. To quell the rumors, Dottie puts pen to paper and discovers something as frightening as it is liberating - her voice.

Order here or ask for it at your favorite local bookstore.

Praise For Magdalena 

“Beautifully written and satisfyingly creepy, this is one of the most poignant and original ghost stories I've ever read.”


-Mark Haskell Smith, author of Blown

“I was transfixed by this novel set in a town suffused with ghosts figurative and literal, and moved deeply to witness an eccentric woman’s grief transmuted into a gripping testament to the power of the individual imagination.”


-Antoine Wilson, author of Mouth to Mouth

“Sary's instinct for the miraculous is indeed strong in this tender novel that lovingly captures the yearning for human connection.”


-Donia Bijan, author of The Last Days of Cafe Leila

"Sary’s tale of love, loss and maternal devotion pulls hard at the heartstrings and is impossible to ­put down.”   


-Diane Haeger, best-selling author of Courtesan 

"A quirky and suspenseful read!”


-Katya Apekina, author of The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish

“Is it possible to write a modern day ghost story that’s also a poignant tale about love, loss, and redemption? Candi Sary has done just that with her second novel, Magdalena. Shirley Jackson fans will be kicking up their heels.”


-Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, author of Palm Springs Noir (Akashic) and host of Writers on Writing

“Ghostly and mysterious yet rooted in the claustrophobic reality of a small town, Magdalena investigates a woman’s search for connection to the idiosyncratic people who cross her path, and most of all, to herself. This dark and delicate novel is a mesmeric read.”


-Siel Ju, author of Cake Time

"Candi Sary lured me into the heart of Dottie, her misfit narrator whose loyalty carries her up and out of loneliness and tragedy. Once you get started, you won't put it down and you won't want it to end.”


-Mary Castillo, author of The Dori O. Paranormal Mystery Series

"Executed with enchanting prose, the story unfolds with such a captivating sequence of events that it is hard to put down and even harder to forget.”

-Amy R. Biddle, author of The Atheist’s Prayer and co-founder of Underground Book Reviews

"Sary's mesmerizing writing style envelopes the reader in the dreamlike reality of Dottie's nontraditional ways of overcoming grief.”


-Nancy Klann-Moren, Author of The Clock Of Life

"Candi Sary’s astonishing fable locates us inside Dottie’s mind as she traverses the ghostly underworld of Sam’s Town and discovers her own power to rescue herself, teenage Magdalena, and the entire town.”

-Stephanie Golden, author of Slaying the Mermaid: Women and the Culture of Sacrifice

“Sary draws us into a paranormal tale that feels absolutely real, heavy and creepily familiar."


-Dominic Carrillo, author of Acts of Resistance

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