The Grimoire of Kensington Market

The Grimoire of Kensington Market

Lauren B. Davis
  • $22.00


324 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-70-7

The downtown core of Toronto is being consumed by elysium, a drug that allows its users to slip through the permeable edges of this world into the next before consuming them utterly. Peddled by the icy Srebrenka, few have managed to escape the drug and its dealer. But Maggie has.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” and woven through with northern folk tales, The Grimoire of Kensington Market is the story of Maggie, proprietor of the Grimoire bookstore, the cosmic nexus of all the world’s tales. Years after beating her addiction, Maggie is dismayed by the reappearance of Srebrenka in her life. Although she resists temptation, she quickly learns that her brother, Kyle, has been ensnared by Srebrenka’s drug-laced beguiling.

Driven by guilt and love, Maggie sets off on a quest to rescue Kyle from the Silver World, where robbers stalk the woods, where tavern keepers weave clouds to hide mountains and where caribou race along the northern lights. There, she must discover what hidden strengths still lie within her.

Advance Praise

"Davis confidently paints a magical world rich in detail where human trials unfold against a fairy-tale tapestry. Weaving a fresh legend from a mosaic of ancient stories, she creates a bold new world where wit equals witchery and kindness is as valued as courage."
– John C. Foster, author of Mister White


Cold Comfort (Dory Cerny, Quill & Quire, November 2018)
"'I tried to write about it as memoir, and I could not do it. And then I tried to write about it as realistic fiction, and I could not do it,' she says, 'But it still felt like something I needed to talk about, a story that needed to be told.'"

24 works of Canadian fiction to watch for this fall (CBC Books, 11/09/2018)
"Toronto is in the grips of a drug called Elysium, which sends its users past the edges of the world. Recovering addict Maggie is the proprietor of a magical bookstore called The Grimoire and one day begins to receive notes that say simply "follow me." Maggie comes to realize that the notes are from her brother Kyle, whose Elysium addiction has taken him deep into the Silver World."

The Syllabus: Back-to-School Books for Grownups (Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, 01/09/2018)
Lauren's book makes the list of "campus novels, literary homages and historical imaginings." Reading these recommended books will make you feel like a student again.

25 books that are going to make a splash this fall (Deborah Dundas, The Toronto Star, 31/08/2018)
"In this book, Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Snow Queen," inspired Davis' modern fairytale/fable about Toronto being consumed by elysium, a drug that allows users to enter another world. Plus it’s got caribou racing along the Northern Lights."

Most Anticipated: Our 2018 Fall Fiction Preview (Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, 09/07/2018)

"Lauren B. Davis’s The Grimoire of Kensington Market is a fairy tale for our time, where addiction meets magic, with all the dark lessons and startling characters of age-old folk tale and myth."

Fiction: Novel Effects (Steven W. Beattie, Quill & Quire, July 2018) 
"A Toronto bookstore proprietor goes on a mystical adventure in a novel that uses fairy-tale devices as a metaphor for addiction. As a new designer drug, Elysium spreads throughout the downtown core, the novel's protagonist must follow a series of mysterious messages from her brother, who passed over beyond the edge of the known world into a shadowland of flying caribou and magical tavern owners."


Read an excerpt of The Grimoire of Kensington Market.

About the Author

Lauren B. Davis is the author of Against a Darkening Sky; The Empty Room, one of the National Post's “Best Books of the Year”; and Our Daily Bread, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and a Globe & Mail "Best Books of the Year". Her other books include the bestselling and critically acclaimed novels The Radiant City, a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and The Stubborn Season, as well as two short story collections, An Unrehearsed Desireand Rat Medicine & Other Unlikely Curatives. Lauren was born in Montreal and now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. For more information, please visit her website at

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