So why only four stars then? The answer is complicated, yet simple. It took me too long to get into it. The last 25% of the book read in no time as it was exciting and well set-up. But the set up took some time and patience, without a doubt, but there's a fine balance in keeping a readers attention and McKay just slips past my tolerance near the beginning.
That said, this is a gorgeous book. And one I would possible revisit in the future to enjoy the beginning all over again; now knowing what to look for that sets up the end. Not unlike Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (an absolute fave of mine); Witches of New York requires attention to detail to pick up on the subtle hints and to appreciate the small moments that change our characters.
The relationships are very realistically portrayed. I adore that there is no instant love between anyone. Even the ladies to the younger girl are wary and careful to start with. Exactly like real life and as it should be.
It should be noted that there are some gruesome deaths. No details or anything horror-esque in the writing of them; but they do happen. If you're expecting a beautiful, no ugliness story then you will be surprised and disappointed. For as beautiful as this book is there is always ugliness in the real world. And whether you believe in ghosts or witches this world is very close to real life. Perhaps even more so than many readers would be willing to believe.
Overall this is a book worthy of your time if the premise at all intrigues you. I would highly recommend it to the right type of reader.