Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Captivity by Deborah Noyes

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

Set in 1840 and 50s New York, Captivity is an engaging story revolving around the infamous Fox sisters, who single-handedly started the spiritualist movement in America. The sisters Maggie and Kate used 'tapping' to communicate with the dead while their sister Leah led from the background.

Intertwined with the Fox sisters' story, is the story of fictional character Clara, who is originally from London. Now living in New York with her father, Clara is a recluse with mystery and gossip swirling around her. She comes across Maggie and Kate as they occasionally play the role of servant in her home. Maggie and Clara eventually accumulate a strong bond.

Captivity didn't have a whole lot of dialogue, but I barely noticed. The writing was so entrancing with a different sort of style which I hadn't experienced beforehand.

During the first part of the story we encountered flashbacks of Clara's life in London in the 1830s and of a love which she had never let go of. The events that we eventually come across in these flashbacks explains why Clara is the way she is. These flashbacks were especially gripping.

Deborah Noyes has written a novel about an interesting time in American history. During the time in England where people had an unusual interest in the dead, we find out it was no different in America. People would hang on to anything and believe anything, thinking that they were communicating with their dear, departed love ones. And people like the Fox sisters were there to play on desperation and take these people's hard-earned money.

I had heard about the Fox sister in various accounts, such as a biography about Victoria Woodhull I had read called Other Powers, but I'd never read a book - fiction or non - where the sisters were prominent. I am fully interested in learning about them: their rise to fame and they eventual downfall.

I highly recommend Captivity for historical fiction lovers. It is a gem.


Lisa said...

I'm starting this one this weekend--I can't wait!

trish said...

This book sounds great! I'm going to have to pick it up.

By the way, I sent you an email. I hope it doesn't go to spam!