Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Friday, March 20, 2015

HFVBT: Michael Schmicker's The Witch of Napoli - Review


My thoughts
When it comes to the supernatural and voices from the beyond, it seems there have always been two camps. Those who believe and those who do not. I tend to come down on the side of belief, but even those of us who do consider ourselves believers have seeds of doubt in the backs of our minds. I guess it's human to doubt. However, I do still believe. My theory is that all our ancient stories and spiritual beliefs had to stem from somewhere and it was people like Allessandra who brought these stories forward in some way. Whether it was by being observed, or by people bearing witness, the phenomenon has carried on through the ages.

In The Witch of Napoli, the medium Allessandra is based on a real life medium. Her character is amazing! She is someone who came from nothing and gains fame from the attention of a psychiatrist determined to 'study' her power and prove a scientific reasoning for it. The way is fraught with peril, as one man investigates on behalf of England's Society for the Investigation of Mediums to prove she's a fake. Then Rome is involved with trying to debunk her powers. Add an abusive husband into the mix, hellbent on revenge and murder, and you have one exciting story.

That being said, the story is also very poignant. The friendship between Allessandra and Tommaso is touching. He sticks by her through it all and, in fact, tells the story. He is a reliable narrator and a likable one too. As I was reading, I could picture his eagerness in his younger years and it made me smile.

The Witch of Napoli is a remarkable historical novel. The author draws on his experience with paranormal phenomenon bringing forward a believable story. With the addition of solid historical research, this book is one you should not pass by.

About the book
Publication Date: January 15, 2015
Palladino Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fantasy

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Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic 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. 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.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.

Praise for The Witch of Napoli
“Impressive…an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page.” -Kirkus Reviews


About the Author
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on the paranormal. He’s been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his investigations through popular paranormal webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program Parascience and Beyond (England). He is the co-author of The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (St. Martin’s Press). The Witch of Napoli is his debut novel. Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia. His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture which readily accepts the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head.

Connect with Michael Schmicker on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Stop by over at Historical Fiction Connection to enter to win a copy of this excellent book and read the insightful guest post by author, Michael Schmicker. 


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1 comment:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. If anyone can get me to read to historical fiction, it's you. I think I like the sound of this one, but I've been burned so many times in the past, I'm always leery about pulling the trigger.

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