The Cloisters (Feb 2023, Paperback, 320 pg) Katy Hays

An instant New York Times bestseller – The Secret History for a new generation – a tale of toxic obsession, ambition and corrosive friendships with a mysterious pack of tarot cards at the heart of the story – and set to be one of the most captivating debuts of 2023. Read more below.

Katy Hays


Available on back-order


The Secret History meets Ninth House in this sinister, atmospheric novel . . . the discovery of a mysterious deck of tarot cards lays bare shocking secrets within a close-knit circle of researchers at New York’s famed Met Cloisters museum.

‘Dark and enigmatic . . . The Cloisters captured me from the off. . . a story of academic obsession, Renaissance magic and the ruthless pursuit of power. Captivating in every sense.’ SARAH PEARSE, author of The Sanatorium
‘Sultry and sinister . . . teems with sexual tension, the secrets of divination, and scholarly obsessiveness . . . jaw-dropping.’ SARAH PENNER, author of The Lost Apothecary
Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, hoping to spend her summer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she is assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its collection of medieval and Renaissance art.

There she is drawn into a small circle of charismatic but enigmatic researchers, each with their own secrets and desires, including the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling.

Relieved to have left her troubled past behind and eager for the approval of her new colleagues, Ann is only too happy to indulge some of Patrick’s more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a mysterious, once-thought lost deck of 15th-century Italian tarot cards she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a dangerous game of power, toxic friendship and ambition.

And as the game being played within the Cloisters spirals out of control, Ann must decide whether she is truly able to defy the cards and shape her own future . . .

About the author
Katy Hays is an adjunct professor of Art History at Sierra College and holds a BA from UC Santa Cruz, an MA from Williams College and attended UC Berkeley for her PhD in Art History. Her academic work has been published by Ashgate, and her writing has been featured in Belladonna magazine. She also serves on the board of the Community of Writers, whose workshops take place every summer in Olympic Valley, California, where she lives. Having worked in curatorial and research roles at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Musée D’Orsay and The Clark Art Institute, she brings an insider’s knowledge of the workings of museums and galleries as well as indepth research about the fascinating history of fortune-telling to The Cloisters, her first novel.