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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox

 

Blogger upgraded and I discovered I can add more fonts. After years of using one particular font, I decided to branch out and use this font, called "raleway". Exciting stuff! 

Hester Fox has written three novels, and I've read them all. I still love her first novel the most, but this one was pretty interesting, a mix of spiritualism, grave robbers, and a secret society determined to reanimate corpses ala Frankenstein. 

Did you know there were people who were hired to sit with someone as they died, and then sit with them a few days more to make absolutely sure they were really dead? All because people were terrified of being buried alive. Can you imagine having that job?!

So. The orphan in this novel is Tabby, a young woman who, with her older sister Alice, ran away from their horrible aunt and uncle ten years before. The sisters were separated, and Tabby was forced to fend for herself as a young twelve year old in 1844 Boston. Penniless, with nowhere to go, Tabby ends up hiding out in a cemetery. There, she meets Eli, the caretaker of the rundown cemetery. 

Ten years later, Tabby lives with Eli and helps him in the cemetery. She still looks for her sister every month in the last place they saw each other. Tabby's got a special gift: she can speak to the dead. So far, nothing from Alice, which is a relief to Tabby-she knows her sister is alive somewhere. Tabby has told no one of her skill-or curse, as she sees it. Seances and spiritualists are all the rage, and most are charlatans-but Tabby is the real deal. However, she is afraid to trust anyone with her secret. 

Grave robbers are making a comeback in Boston, and Tabby has witnessed their thievery in her cemetery. She becomes entangled with a young man who is accused of murdering his fiancee, and the plot thickens--how is this murder related to the sinister late night grave robbing? 

This was an interesting plot, and for the most part it was pretty interesting. But it did feel a bit disjointed as far as the timeline moved-I couldn't get a grip on the weeks and months that passed for two of the characters, and for Tabby at the same time. Tabby's timeline didn't quite match up. The characters were all likable, except for the evil Mr. Whitby. He's clearly the bad dude from early on in the novel. 

This wasn't a frightful novel at all, but definitely gothic. A quick read, with a few continuity issues. Overall, a good book to read as night creeps closer, temperatures cool, and the dead get restless! 

Rating: 3/6 for an interesting read about the spiritualist movement of the mid 19th century in the United States; death customs and rituals, and the thin veil between life and death. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 

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