This masterful historical novel by Deborah Noyes, the lauded author of Angel & Apostle, The Ghosts of Kerfol, and Encyclopedia of the End (starred PW) is two stories:
The first centers upon the strange, true tale of the Fox Sisters, the enigmatic family of young women who, in upstate New York in 1848, proclaimed that they could converse with the dead. Doing so, they unwittingly (but artfully) gave birth to a religious movement that touched two continents: the American Spiritualists.
The second story in Captivity is about loss and grief. It is the evocative tale of the bright promise that the Fox Sisters offer up to the skeptical Clara Gill, a reclusive woman of a certain age who long ago isolated herself with her paintings, following the scandalous loss of her beautiful young lover in London.
Lyrical and authenticand more than a bit shadowyCaptivity is, finally, a tale about physical desire and the hope that even the thinnest faith can offer up to a darkening heart.
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an e-galley of Captivity from the publisher months ago and just got around to reading it in recent weeks in anticipation of it's upcoming release. As many of you know, I am a huge proponent/supporter of small presses and independent booksellers, so I was very excited about digging into this book. Captivity represents all that is good in literary fiction and small press publishers. It is original, creative and beautifully written. I love the premise. real-life meets fiction with the story of the real Fox sisters intertwined with the fictional character of Clara Gill. The story alternates between the early- and mid-nineteenth century as it simultaneously tells of the coming of age of Maggie Fox while revisiting the past of the now-reclusive Clara. While Clara does not believe in the spiritualist movement, it is Maggie, through friendship alone who draws her from her seclusion. The historical setting, descriptions of religious fervor (on both sides of the spiritualist debate) and period detail are all vividly realized throughout the story. Clara Gill is by far the most interesting character. We learn that she is a woman with a past. and the nature of that past is gradually doled out to the reader in a slow, almost tantalizing way. The Fox sisters' story centers on Maggie Fox, the middle Fox sister who unwittingly begins an entire spiritual movement with her dubious ability to conjure spirits with her younger sister, Kate. While Maggie's story is clearly integral to this novel, I must admit that I found it far less engaging than Clara's. I confess that I occasionally found myself simply enduring "Maggie chapters" as a necessary interruption to the "Clara chapters". Regardless, Maggie's coming-of-age is masterfully depicted and one can't help but follow it with interest. Captivity poses questions - some answered, some not - and the most central of those questions is simply this. what is real? And perhaps more importantly, "what is the difference between the real and the unreal when people react precisely the same to each?" This is a story to be taken in small bites and slowly digested, and consequently takes quite a while to read. I had to revisit early passages from to time to re-think their content. I would do well to read the whole thing again with the advantage of hindsight. In other words, this is not a book for the literary faint of heart. But those who read it will be richly rewarded for the experience. The Bottom Line: A beautifully written and deeply insightful work of historical fiction.