Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Reviews - The Raising/The Somnambulist

The Raising by Laura Kasischke

Last semester, Nicole Werner was killed in a car accident. A blonde and beautiful prom queen and straight-A student, Nicole was a prized sister in the most powerful sorority on campus. Now she's gone, and the college is in mourning.
As winter sets in, and the nights darken, the everyday tragedy of Nicole's death turns into a gripping drama. The candelit vigils and rituals of remembrance become intense and fetishistic. A new class on the folklore of dying and the undead is hugely oversubscribed. Soon, students are reporting eerie sightings of Nicole's spirit in the crumbling college halls.

Although both the cover and the synopsis led me to have doubts that this book would be to my taste they were quickly dispelled. Once I began, the story ,which I'd describe as a psychological suspense with haunting ghostly overtones, was so compelling I could hardly bear to put it down.
I particularly enjoyed the background of an American college campus and the involvement of Mira, the professor taking the class on death and dying as it gave a fascinating glimpse into the folklore and vampire and ghost beliefs from different cultures.
The central mystery is filled with twists and the suspense continues to build right to the end.

Fantastic reading! I loved it! I recommend!

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

'Some secrets are better left buried...' When seventeen-year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton's Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close. While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels who heralds dramatic changes in the lives of all three women. When offered the position of companion to Nathaniel's reclusive wife, Phoebe leaves her life in London's East End for Dinwood Court in Herefordshire - a house that may well be haunted and which holds the darkest of truths. 

The Somnambulist is Essie Fox's debut novel and I was keen to read it because I'm a frequent visitor to her Virtual Victorian blog and knew her knowledge of this era would provide an authentic and interesting historical background which it definitely does. Lots of fascinating period details including the Millais painting from which the book takes its title, London's East End and Wilton's Music Hall, a grand country house and the Hallelujah Army, forerunner of the Salvation Army. An author's note at the back provides information on what is fact or fiction.
The story is a gothic style mystery/romance in which Phoebe struggles to find the truth of her Aunt Cissy's past . It's neatly crafted and there are some great secondary characters.
A book that will appeal to historical fiction lovers and anyone interested in the Victorian Era.

I enjoyed it very much and look forward to more from Essie Fox.

Royal Reviews Regency & Victorian Challenge

1 comment:

  1. The cover of Essie Fox's novel is so distinctive. I remember reading a little blurb about it awhile back. It sounds interesting I must add it to my list!