There’s a smoothly authentic Victorian feel to the beginning of this tale, but the modern-day writing is equally enthralling and convincing, pulling the reader in to mystery that grows deeper, wider and scarier as the story progresses. Start with one old-fashioned psychic. Let him imbue a portrait with his presence. Then see what happens a hundred years after his death.
In the present day, a painting that has haunted a young woman’s childhood is sold to haunt a con-man’s future instead. But there’s so much more to this story, as psychic powers intersect with human greed, old-fashioned ways give space to the new, devotees are pulled into mystery while true psychics ponder the myth, and very human danger looms.
The story ebbs and flows like the tide, while one strong woman seeks a safe solution to what’s fast becoming dangerously strange. It’s beautifully crafted, with subtle hints and slowly believable change. And it works to a pleasingly honest conclusion, satisfying and just. I really enjoyed this book.
Right away I felt like I was a part of this story. The setting felt right and the book begins with a character that you may not love, but you will certainly find interesting.
One of the things I tend to judge books on is whether the idea is simply an idea I have already seen used before. With so many books out on the market it is hard to find pure originality, but I felt I got that with this book. I liked the way this author handled this novel, leading the reader to believe it would end one way and then not having it do so. I truly was expecting a Waco-Compound-style psychotic break at the end, but it was handled much more maturely and thoughtfully than that.
This was a pleasant surprise. The characters were good, the story was interesting and the ending was carried out with dignity. If you like your books to keep you on your toes and make you guess, this one will do the trick. Recommended.
The book’s description seemed wild, which immediately piqued my interest, and I delved into the contents immediately upon arrival. I was immediately intrigued by the character of Ignatius Jones, who seemed to captivate an audience and hold their attention rapt with his claims of spiritual knowledge after death. The book contains a colorful cast of characters, and became almost too hard to read when the story took a twist into the realm of the occult. Despite all his promises to make it as least cult-like as possible, Charles immediately abandons this notion when he starts recruiting “pilgrims” to his Center for Spiritualist Discovery and dressing in a monk’s robe.There are times that I wished events would have unfolded more in depth, like Elaine’s death and the pseudo-relationship Frances had with the caretaker, but overall it was a great book with a surprise ending. Lots of emotions with this one, people – it’s definitely a read that will keep you on your toes.
An Enchanted Portrait
By Fred Camfield, 7 November 2014, Amazon 5-Stars
Something different in a plot. There have been stories of enchanted mirrors. In this case we have an enchanted portrait that provides a gateway into the spirit world. Ignatius Jones was a renowned spiritualist of the late 19th century, and also a womanizer. He was murdered by the brother of one of the women. But Ignatius had commissioned a portrait by a well known artist, and enchanted the portrait with his spirit. The portrait disappeared. Now it has resurfaced – it had been in the family of a woman’s late husband (the family having acquired it by unknown means – possibly theft). The woman had never liked the portrait and decides to dispose of it at a rummage sale, having no knowledge of its real value. That sets off a chain of events when its existence becomes known. Different people want the portrait for their own reasons – a museum because of its value, the woman’s daughter who had a personal connection to the painting, and a shading operator who sees the potential for raking in money from people who want to contact “the other side.” The spirit of Ignatius Jones has plans of his own.There are going to be winners and losers. A cult has formed around the portrait that will use deadly force to protect their position. They are opposed by locals, including the sheriff. Then their is a spiritualist who has her own agenda. Events go in interesting directions.
Readers might also like the author’s previous novel The Trail of Money
Engrossing View of Belief vs. Skepticism and Look Into Spiritualism
By Mallory Anne-Marie Forbes Haws, 30 November 2014, Amazon 5-Stars
Readers of author Peter David Shapiro’ s GHOSTS OF THE RED LINE know his gift for not just suspending disbelief, but for holding faith and belief in a sort of bubble or force field, acknowledging that belief exists, while simultaneously showcasing the absence of belief through skepticism and downright cynicism. He is no proselytizer, so don’t expect to be bludgeoned with conviction. I stead, each reader decides, just as each character must. Here again, the question of Spiritualism arises, the possibility of Afterlife continuance, and even more, of Afterlife communication.
The focus is an 1896 portrait, a painting of a famed Boston Spiritualist, murdered 7 years later, when the portrait simply disappeared. Over 100 years later, it is serendipitously discovered by a well-to-do con artist, who makes it central to his new operation.