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Book: The Seance

April 8, 2009
tags:

Victorian-Style Gothic Thriller Checklist:

1. Distraught heroine (check!)

2. Evil husband (check!)
3. Pansy artist True Love who dies an early death (check!)
4. Large falling-down haunted manor (check!)
5. Much fuss about chaperones (double-check!)
6. Mysterious whodunit (check!)
7. Charlatan spiritualists (check!)
8. Mesmerism (check!)
9. Disapproving relatives (check!)
10. Inheritances (check and double-check!)

I’m being silly; actually I really enjoyed this book. I liked it as much, if not more than The Ghost Writer. Although (on purpose or not) it seemed to follow the Victorian Gothic Thriller template pretty faithfully, it was a really fun story, full of dark mystery and evil men and smart(ish) women and that endless pool of gothic atmosphere: Spiritualism.

Acutally, it sort of remined me of a grownup version of a John Bellairs book, what with the Mystery Of The Armour and the Secret Room Behind The Fireplace and the Exploding Thingie and the Scary Monk’s Wood Haunted By A Monk and all.

Basically, it’s your standard Woman-Gets-Inheritance…. But-There’s-A-Catch story. Throw in some tangled family history and a very disturbing mystery, and you’ve got yourself an excellent gothic mystery. I mean, come on. Spiritualism and seances and falling-down manors and mysterious dark husbands and scandals… what’s not to like?

(what’s with All My Capitalization tonight?)

I know it’s not much of a review, but there are lots of plot twists and really, it’s nothing that you can’t imagine for yourself, but the wonderful writing and seriously authentic-period characters make it fun and you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

I will say this: if you like John Bellairs, you will probably like this. I do, and I did.

**

What’s up next? Getting back to the Once Upon A Time challenge, I’m going to read Anansi Boys, which has been sitting in my TBR stack since last summer. I think I’m finally in the mood for it!b
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