Thursday, January 3, 2008

REVIEW: High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance--Dianne K. Salerni

Little did I know when I set out to tell the story of the Fox sisters that I would be following a new trend in teen fiction towards protagonists with a less-than-steady moral compass. ForeWord Magazine recently published a feature article on the new YA anti-heroes: protagonists who lie, cheat, and find themselves mired in ethical ambiguity. My nineteenth century celebrities, Maggie and Kate Fox, fit right in!

Dianne K. Salerni

THE HERO STANDS ACCUSED: a ForeWord Magazine Feature

“The new teenaged hero doesn’t behave as expected, and he could have a criminal record. On the other hand, she might have a skeleton in the closet, a guilty secret, or questionable motivation. Failure at the central task is entirely possible, and success may come at the cost of disturbing self-knowledge …

High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance by Dianne K. Salerni stars the Fox sisters of upstate New York, originators of the mid-nineteenth century Spiritualist phenomenon. The girls fake contact with spirits by posing questions aloud and tapping answers. But newspaperman Horace Greeley believes, as does proto-feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Even First Lady Jane Pierce wants help contacting her deceased son. Celebrity Arctic explorer Elisha Kent Kane loves Maggie Fox, though occupations and a chasm between classes present towering hurdles. Both Maggie and the younger, less conflicted Kate are under the sway of much-older sister Leah, who lacks remorse for the skullduggery. Maggie’s a reluctant huckster who sees herself as a solace provider to the bereaved. “My sister may have been a trickster but my own purpose was pure.” The (anti)heroines confront threats, violence, and public humiliation.”

Read the entire article at here

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