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Elizabeth by Jessica Hamilton
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Elizabeth

by Jessica Hamilton

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I really cannot recommend Elizabeth highly enough, the debut novel from Ken Greenhall, writing under the pseudonym Jessica Hamilton. This unheralded, forgotten work deserves rediscovery by fans of weird fiction. If you enjoy the literary chill of calculating children, the frosty tales of du Maurier and Jackson, the quiet horrors of witchery and those it dooms, the foolishness of men in the thrall of women, do yourself a favor and become acquainted with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is one of the most intriguingly written novels I've read in some time; it is deceptively rich and rewarding. Hamilton's style is one of allusion, of casual reference, an author in full command of the writing craft, knowing what to tell, what to show, and most especially what to conceal. And ironically in that concealment revealing all.

At just 14 years old, Elizabeth Cuttner is a startling little sociopath with powers natural and not (A Novel of the Unnatural states its tagline). She tells her story in a voice quite distinctive, yes, but also as cool and unforgiving as a marble tombstone. With dispassionate precision, she grasps the motivations of those around her, fathoms their subconscious desires; Elizabeth has psychological insights that people thrice her age never attain. She amazes, charms, bewilders, and ultimately horrifies.

Elizabeth herself is an amazingly complex character, her voice so confident, so ageless, so wise, as she begins to use her unnatural talents...

There is barely a whisper of actual violence or overt sex, but the novel seethes with these powers, yet the tone throughout is cool, almost affectless.

 
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The image in the mirror of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Cuttner is that of the fey and long-dead Frances, who introduces Elizabeth to her chilling world of the supernatural. Through Frances, Elizabeth learns what it is to wield power - power of a kind that is malevolent and seemingly invincible. Power that begins with the killing of her parents...… (more)

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