Author: Deborah Noyes
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Genre: fiction, historical fiction, paranormal
Book Summary (from publisher's website):
"March 1848: On the very night that a Rochester recluse begins contemplating the end of her simple existence, the walls of a farmhouse in nearby Hydesville resound with inexplicable rapping noises. Maggie Fox and her younger sister rivet family and neighbors by claiming to be able to communicate with an unseen spirit. When the girls reveal the identity of “Mr. Splitfoot,” men with picks and shovels arrive to excavate the cellar in search of remains.
As word of the Fox sisters’ strange ability spreads far and wide, pilgrims arrive en mass, staking their tents in surrounding fields and peering in the family’s windows. Shortly after ambitious Leah steps in to manage her younger siblings’ affairs, invitations for “tea and table tilting” begin circulating Western New York. Maggie is subjected to rigorous demonstrations and humiliating investigative committees, to strangers who poke and prod but can’t unpuzzle her, and she takes refuge in an unlikely friendship with Clara Gill, a reclusive scientific artist.
Exiled in Rochester in the wake of a London scandal, Clara is a skeptic of an altogether different sort — one with reason to believe, though reason won’t allow. “The dead are exacting,” she tells Maggie, for it seems Clara knows a thing or two about ghosts.
As Maggie’s fame grows and a mania for contacting the dead sweeps the nation, her circle widens to include the likes of Horace Greeley, P.T. Barnum, and First Lady Pierce. She embarks on a turbulent affair with the equally famous polar explorer Elisha Kent Kane, and when the aristocratic Kane challenges her to give up her “disgraceful” calling, Maggie is torn between love and independence, shame and duty. Her ties to Clara become all the more binding, and against all odds, Maggie takes it upon herself to help her friend confront a loss beyond reckoning…
Told from alternating points of view and weaving past with present, Captivity explores an especially haunted moment in U.S. history when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were flamboyantly lifted, when science and spirit were colorfully at odds, and when the wills of two very different women collided to work an ordinary miracle of devotion."
The Victorian Era has always been a fascination for me and I love reading historical fiction from that time period. Since "Captivity" is set in that time frame and deals with the paranormal and "real" people, it was a book that I just HAD to read.
"Captivity" is an amazing and hauntingly captivating historical fiction novel combining the lives of the Fox sisters with an "unstable" woman named Clara Gill. The stories run side-by-side until the merge, bringing Maggie and Clara together. I found both women to be as fascinating as the storyline. Clara was a mystery to me, but at the same time, I had a feeling that there was something more to her than just being "unstable. Maggie was a fun and knowledgeable person. So much depth and as saw things in Clara that others didn't see.
I will admit that I found it hard to get involved with any of the Fox sisters in the beginning. I didn't take to any of them at first. As time went on, Maggie developed into a character that I loved almost as much as I adored Clara.
This is a book that needs to be savored like an expensive glass of wine - slowly and paying much attention to detail as it is complex. There's too much that can be missed if one reads it quickly. Deborah is a master at capturing the reader with her prose. She is definitely an author I'm going to add to my watch list.
About the Author:
Deborah is also an editor and photographer. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. She has taught writing and literature at Emerson College and Western New England College, and was a Visiting Writer in Lesley University's MFA in Writing for Young People program. Deb lives in Massachusetts with her family.
Book was provided by Unbridled Books for me to honestly review.
Caitlin at Unbridled Books has been kind enough to offer a copy of "Captivity" to one lucky reader of this blog.
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Contest ends June 25, 2010 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response, another winner will be drawn. Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.