Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker

Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, seductive medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra's mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know - does the "Queen of Spirits" really have supernatural powers? Nigel Huxley is convinced she's simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England's Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. Meanwhile, the Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe. Inspired by the true-life story of controversial Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918), The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter,19th-century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Author Buzz for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***

This insomniac's opinion: 

If you've read this blog for long then you know that I have strange fascinations: World War II, big words....and witches. Ahem....And, here I am rating another book about witches and magic. 

This book had many things going for it- great writing, what seemed to be very thorough research(although I surely didn't double check facts for the time period) and really solid characters. I read through the book pretty quickly and was incredibly fascinated by the mediums and their way of life in 19th century Europe. 

However, the book did lose steam and believability towards the end and I was honestly just ready to be done reading by the time the last page was turned. 

Worth staying up all night?

I did for the first half of the novel!


3.5 stars 

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