Beautiful and atmospheric, Spirited takes the reader back to the Victorian era: a time where your class defined who and what you were, females were less than inferior beings, and if you made one minor mistake, you were done for.
Viola is the daughter of a clergyman, and after the death of her beloved father, she marries Jonah, her childhood friend. It was always assumed they would marry and so they did. However, they’re no longer children and after not having seen each other for quite some time, with Jonah having been in India, it’s quickly evident that they’ve both undergone huge changes in their lives, and somehow can’t recapture the easy relationship that they used to have. It’s impossible for them to move from the easy sibling relationship they had, to living as husband and wife.
Growing more distant from each other, with Viola becoming increasingly unhappy, Jonah tries to encourage her to find pursuits that she will enjoy in their new hometown. She does her best, but cannot understand why her husband won’t talk to her about the trauma he underwent in Delhi. When spirit medium Henriette arrives in their small Dorset town, things start to spiral off into an unimaginable direction for the young couple.
Whether you believe or not in life after death, the possibility of contact from the spirit world, spirits being able to show themselves to us on ‘this side of the veil’ … there will always be questions, possibilities and a myriad of answers. Where does your faith lie, and how far are you willing to follow it? If you’re grieving, how vulnerable are you to those who might want to take advantage of that? If you’re determined to prove that this other world and ours are just a diaphanous curtain away from each other, what lengths will you go to, to expose where that opening exists? What do you want to believe?
The story winds its way backwards and forwards between England and India as the author tantalizingly reveals the intricate details of the lives of each of the main characters. And they’re fabulous! They don’t quite fit into the boxes they’re meant to for the era they’re living in and this is so movingly and emotively portrayed throughout.
This is a truly outstanding 5-star read. The research is thorough, which added to my fascination with the subject matter. Thank you so much to Random Things Tours for inviting me along. Check out other stops on the tour to see what other bloggers are saying about Spirited …
Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for the Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold over a million copies; DEAR THING and TOGETHER were Richard and Judy Book Club picks. Her most recent novel is the critically acclaimed LOUIS & LOUISE. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.
You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website: http://www.julie-cohen.com.