Author: Michael Schmicker
Title: The Witch of Napoli
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, & Paranormal
First Published: Janurary 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me from the publisher/author for an honest and unbiased opinion)
Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, seductive medium Alessandra Poverelli levitates a table at a Spiritualist séance in Naples. A reporter photographs the miracle, and wealthy, skeptical, Jewish psychiatrist Camillo Lombardi arrives in Naples to investigate. When she materializes the ghost of his dead mother, he risks his reputation and fortune to finance a tour of the Continent, challenging the scientific and academic elite of Europe to test Alessandra's mysterious powers. She will help him rewrite Science. His fee will help her escape her sadistic husband Pigotti and start a new life in Rome. Newspapers across Europe trumpet her Cinderella story and baffling successes, and the public demands to know - does the "Queen of Spirits" really have supernatural powers? Nigel Huxley is convinced she's simply another vulgar, Italian trickster. The icy, aristocratic detective for England's Society for the Investigation of Mediums launches a plot to trap and expose her. Meanwhile, the Vatican is quietly digging up her childhood secrets, desperate to discredit her supernatural powers; her abusive husband Pigotti is coming to kill her; and the tarot cards predict catastrophe. Inspired by the true-life story of controversial Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918), The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter,19th-century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.
Oh, poor Alessandra...all she wants to do is talk to the dead, but people are out to either kill her or try to find that she is a fake. I adore Alessandra and I wish the book was in her POV, but 'tis not. I do like Tomos who is telling the story, but I would have enjoyed it being in Alessandra's POV much more.
GAH! How much proof do you need Nigel? GAH! I wanted to punch him in the face, because he was so pig-headed. Aren't scientists suppose to, well, believe when they see the same proof over and over again? He was an idiot. Lombardi was bad too, but after seeing proof he got better (I still didn't like him still).
It was certainly an adventure, but the middle got a little dry due to lack of action. However, as the ghosties got a little upset, the story got interesting again and made the dry spell totally worth it. The author certainly does a spell of his writing himself...you can fly through 50 pages and not realize you read so many pages so quickly.
There is so much more I want to say, but it will indeed ruin it. The ending was super sad! However, you know it's going to happen, because Tomos tells you its going to happen, but I wanted it to more happy. Sad.
In the end, I totally recommend this to those that like historical fiction mixed in with some supernatural/paranormal happenings that are trying and failing to be debunked by the scientists. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3 stars. :)
Favorite Character(s): Tomos & Alessandra
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Lombardi, Alessandra's husband (scum), & Nigel