Publication Date: January 15, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic 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. 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.
Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napolimasterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.
Praise for The Witch of Napoli “Impressive…an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page.” -Kirkus Reviews
In Naples, Italy at the turn of the 20th century, Tommaso Labella gets the chance to photograph the medium Alessandra Poverelli. Tommaso captures a photo of Alessandra levitating a table and Alessendra captures his heart. Alessandra's ability to levitate tables, produces knocks and become possessed by spirits soon earns her a following along with much skepticism. One man of science, psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi believes that there may be some scientific explanation to Alessandra's feats. Lombardi takes Alessandra and Tommaso on a tour of Europe for shows and scientific testing; meanwhile, Nigel Huxley, head of England's Society for the Investigation of Medium believes that Alessandra is nothing but a cheat and launches a campaign to bring her down.
Based on the real and turbulent life of Eusapia Palladino, Alessandra Poverelli's story is brought forth in a magical interpretation. Thorugh the eyes of Tommaso, Alessandra is placed in an enchanting but realistic light. Tomasso and Alessandra are both from the impoverished section of Naples, and Alessandra's attitude shows it. She is fiery and defiant and will not be put up with being called a cheat. I enjoyed Tomasso's point of view since he didn't care if Alessandra's talents are real or not, he just cared for her. One of the mysteries carried throughout the book was if Alessandra truly had powers. The writing was done in a mesmerizing way that allowed the reader to decide. Set in the age of Spiritualism, I was intrigued by the power struggle between science and paranormal and religion and the Spiritualist's threat to the church. With all of the competing viewpoints, Alessandra's struggles made for a fascinating and engaging read.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.
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