Friday, June 04, 2010

Captivity: A Haunting Hoax

...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.

These words in the publisher's book jacket description of Deborah Noyes' Captivity set my geek heart all aflutter.  Those interested in American literature, social history, religious history, magic (top hats and card tricks variety), hoaxes, and/or marketing usually have a passing acquaintance with those wily Fox Sisters who opened the floodgates of the American imagination to "the other side."

The chance to "meet" them through a well-researched novelization was a bit of time travel I could not resist.  I also wondered if the author, like so many of their contemporaries, would be able to resist their siren song?  The centrality of the Fox Sisters suggested to me that the tale would either thrive on intrigue or belly-flop into a quagmire of hokum.

I contacted publisher Unbridled Books for a review copy, and I am pleased to tell you that Captivity offers hours of immersive reading.  This is a great summer read and a vacation unto itself (no beach required).

Noyes' story of a famous hoax ends up investigating the real things that haunt us.  This ghost story for skeptics includes mysterious happenings (not of the supernatural variety) that keep pages flying (as if under their own power!) until the very last page.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaCaptivity transforms history into warm-blooded fiction and marries it to historical fiction of the same era.  Readers who liked The Devil in the White City or The Thirteenth Tale will find themselves quickly caught up in the world of the Fox Sisters and (fictional) zoological artist Clara Gill.

Captivity's great pace, interesting characters, and a potent combination of history and fiction make this book a Baby Toolkit top summer reading recommendation.

You can see other books we've been reading, loving, criticizing, contemplating reading, and condemning to the dustbin (library donation box) at Goodreads.

Captivity is available in hardback ($25.95, currently ~$19 at Amazon).

What are you reading?

***Baby Toolkit is the independent opinion of two geek parents.  We're preparing for a great summer vacation by getting a jump start on some gripping fiction.  DISCLOSURE: We received a review copy of Captivity from Unbridled Press.  We have no fiscal relationship with Deborah Noyes or Unbridled Press.  We are Amazon associates, so a portion of the proceeds from sales through our Amazon links pay for our internet connection (thanks, Amazon shoppers!).

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