Kate: Maggie has a different understanding of all the events that have happened since that night in Hydesville long ago. To her the spirits were always a game. For my sister Leah they were a means to an end. For my mother, a miracle. And for me they were my life's calling. I have no regrets.
So begins Dianne K. Salerni's fictionalized account of the Fox sisters and the Spiritualist movement they spawned with their spirit rappings and messages from the dead. It was in a small house in Hydesville, New York, where these first ghostly encounters happened, but Maggie's and Kate's notoriety quickly spread. Their older sister Leah soon had them performing to much wider audiences, traveling from New York to Philadelphia and back. It seemed nearly everyone at that time was interested in the afterlife and in communicating with the dead. So much so some were even willing to pay for the privilege.
This is such an interesting time period in American history and Salerni does a good job of portraying the Fox sisters and relating the facts of their stories. But I have to say, this one was a bit of a slog for me. Maggie is the main narrator, but it's like she's relating things that happened to her in the past. And maybe that's why this novel lost some of its immediacy. I actually preferred Kate's chapters, but they were few and far between. It's not a bad read. And I did learn a lot about the Fox sisters and their lives that I didn't know before. Another bonus? This is one of the books that I chose to read for Lark's 2017 Backlist Reader Challenge because it's been on my TBR list for years. So, despite it being a a slow read, I managed to finish it! I just wish it had been a little more compelling...or 100 pages shorter.
P.S. I did really enjoy Salerni's other novel, The Caged Graves, which is more of a gothic mystery and would be a perfect October read.