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The Spiritualist by Megan Chance
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The Spiritualist

by Megan Chance

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It is 1857, New York City. A poor girl finds herself married to a man from the ‘upper 10’ of New York. He handsome, wealthy and she’s in love.

But he’s away a lot, and she is lonely, although to her surprise, Society has accepted her. Well, she thought they had. Until her husband is murdered and she finds herself the prime suspect.

Well drawn characters, an intriguing plot, with twists and enough surprises to keep me flipping the pages.

I’d have given it a better star rating, but it got a bit too bodice ripping a few times for my tastes, but not so badly that it distracted me from the storyline. ( )
  majkia | Jun 11, 2013 |
Evelyn Atherton's husband has been murdered. She quickly finds herself the center of the investigation. Her husband had taken to visiting a medium to talk to his deceased mother. In order to clear her name Evie must find who killed her husband. This book took a few chapters to get going. Once it did I admit I looked to see how it ended because I felt I had to know what happened to Evelyn. I liked the twists and turns of the story. Even though I had read the ending before I was halfway through I still found the story engaging and wanted to know how the characters made it from the beginning to the end. ( )
  i.should.b.reading | Mar 29, 2013 |
In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton's husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive séance. Having “married up” into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband's last steps. And so, joining forces with her husband's best friend - and the only Manhattan lawyer who will accept her case - Evie dives into the mysterious underworld of the occult.

Before long, the trail brings them to a charismatic medium, Michel Jourdain. Evie's instincts tell her the smooth-talking Jourdain is a charlatan - and her only hope for exoneration. But getting close to Jourdain means embracing a seductive and hypnotic world where clues to murder come through the voices of the dead.

My Thoughts:

This book is brilliant. I had been waiting for ages to find a copy and then I asked my local library who hadn’t got it but requested it to buy for the system and I am so glad they did. If you like spiritulism and mediumship then this book is for you. There is also a murder mystery with a twist which I didn’t see coming till the very end. The story has a steady flow to it and there is enough going on to keep the reader interested till the very end.

I just cannot say how good this book is and I am glad my local library put innthe request to buy the book so other can enjoy it like I did. ( )
  tina1969 | Nov 12, 2012 |
Novelist Megan Chance seems to specialize in writing about oppressed 19th century women who ultimately prosper and get revenge on their oppressors. I liked "An Inconvenient Wife" when I read it a few years ago. It was moody and powerful and strange, an enjoyable novel from beginning to end. Her latter novel, "The Spiritualist" (2008), left me with different opinions.

Certainly "The Spiritualist" holds one's interest. Evelyn, a beautiful woman from a family of modest means, becomes the wife of Peter Atherton, a Manhattan lawyer and a member of one of New York's richest families. After the wedding, Peter becomes distant. He is rarely home and rarely takes Evelyn with him when he goes out.

But one January night in 1857, he takes Evelyn to a séance at the home of an elderly woman, Dorothy Bennett, another member of New York's elite. Dorothy wants to communicate with her two dead sons, and she is smitten with Michel Jourdain, a handsome young medium. Peter seems to believe Michel is the real deal, but Evelyn is convinced he is a fake. She is pleased Peter has included her, however, and determines to keep her doubts to herself.

During the séance, a shot is fired, hitting nobody, but Peter is convinced someone around the table was trying to kill Michel. Later he takes Evelyn home and goes off, he says, to discover the truth. That is the last she sees of her husband. A few days later his body is found in a river.

Peter's will leaves all his wealth to Evelyn, but his powerful family won't stand for that. They both challenge the will and pressure the police to arrest Evelyn for murder. There is little evidence for this charge, but Evelyn knows that won't matter. She herself must discover Peter's murderer if she is to escape the gallows. When she is forced out of her house and Dorothy invites her to live with her, Evelyn sees her chance to investigate.

Here's where Chance's novel starts to get a little hokey. It turns out that Evelyn, not Michel, is the novel's title character. The spirits guide her in her search for the killer. Meanwhile, although convinced Michel is both a fraud and a murderer, Evelyn can't stay out of his bed.

There are a number of unsavory characters in this story, and by the end of the novel, Evelyn is one of them. Revenge is not pretty. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jul 21, 2012 |
A young woman,Evelyn, is faced with social and financial ruin due to the death of her socialite husband. But all is not lost. She is befriended by another society matron who is promoting her "medium" who lives in-house. Evelyn believes that the medium is at fault and works to find out the truth alongside her attorney, her late husband's friend and partner. Who's lying and who's not and what can be done?

I really liked this book, particularly because of how the author allowed her character to grow through the adversity she faces. Chance's other book that I've read, An Inconvenient Wife, was also compelling in the same way. It's not great literature, but it's still quite good. ( )
  majorbabs | Jul 27, 2009 |
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Epigraph
Truth is rarely pure, and never simple. -Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -

The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man may be blind -Emily Dickinson, "Tell all the Truth but tell it slant"

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To my sister Tonia, a survivor with much love
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The fog crept in at four o'clock.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307406113, Paperback)

Sometimes truth is the greatest illusion of all.

In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton’s husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive séance. Having “married up” into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband’s last steps. And so, joining forces with her husband’s best friend–and the only Manhattan lawyer who will accept her case–Evie dives into the mysterious underworld of the occult.

Before long, the trail brings them to a charismatic medium, Michel Jourdain. Evie’s instincts tell her the smooth-talking Jourdain is a charlatan–and her only hope for exoneration. But getting close to Jourdain means embracing a seductive and hypnotic world where clues to murder come through the voices of the dead.

Caught in a perilous game in which she is equal player and pawn, predator and victim, Evie finds there is no one to trust, perhaps not even herself. As her powerful in-laws build a case against her, and with time running out, Evie must face the real ghosts of her past if she is to have any hope of avoiding the hangman.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:12 -0400)

"In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton's husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive seance. Having "married up" into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband's last steps. And so, joining forces with her husband's best friend - and the only Manhattan lawyer who will accept her case- Evie dives into the mysterious underworld of the occult." "Before long, the trail brings them to a charismatic medium, Michel Jourdain. Evie's instincts tell her the smooth-talking Jourdain is a charlatan - and her only hope for exoneration. But getting close to Jourdain means embracing a seductive and hypnotic world where clues to murder come through the voices of the dead." "Caught in a perilous game in which she is equal player and pawn, predator and victim, Evie finds there is no one to trust, perhaps not even herself. As her powerful in-laws build a case against her, and with time running out, Evie must face the real ghosts of her past if she is to have any hope of avoiding the hangman."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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