book reviews by Althea

Brimstone – Cherie Priest ***

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Recommended for those with an interest in turn-of-the-century Spiritualism.
The setting of this book, Cassadaga, FL, has a real-life reputation as being the place to go if you somehow can’t get ripped off by a so-called psychic closer to home – but the history of the town being associated with the search for the paranormal dates back to 1875. (…)

In this novel, the ‘spirits’ are all-too-real – and not always benign.

Alice Dartle is a genuine medium. It runs in her family, but she doesn’t quite know what to do with her abilities. She’s terrified of being lynched as a witch, if anyone finds out about her powers. When she hears about the spiritualists at Cassadaga, she packs up and goes on a pilgrimage in the hopes of finding a community where she will truly belong.

Tomas Cordero has had a different kind of experience. A number of unexplained fires have been starting in his vicinity. He secretly hopes that these unexplained phenomena are a sign that his deceased wife is trying to contact him from beyond the grave. But as the events get more and more out of control, and tragedy strikes, he hopes to find help in Cassadaga.

I liked this book more than Priest’s recent ‘Lizzie Borden’ books, but not as much as her earlier Clockwork Century or Eden Moore books. It was more slow-moving than the story seemed to demand; and I think a novella length might’ve suited it better.

Many thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for the opportunity to read.


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