Thursday, March 19, 2015

G548 Book Reivew of The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker

Name of Book: The Witch of Napoli

Author: Michael Schmicker

ISBN: 978099094022

Publisher: Paladino

Type of book: psychics, mediums, spirits, ghosts, channeling, seance, table levitations, skepticism, faith vs science, Italy 1899, responsibility, Europe travel

Year it was published: 2015


Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, seductive 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. Meanwhile, 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. Inspired by the true-life story of controversial Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918), The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter,19th-century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.


There are quite a few characters such as Alexandra, a spiritual medium from Naples that has her own issues and life crop up frequently. For some odd reason, from her speech I often picture her as a kind and a naive grandmotherly type, but she is anything but grandmotherly; she is tough, honorable, vain and sacrificing. Tomasso is a sixteen year old boy who is assigned to be her photographer and is described as extremely handsome, tough, endearing and he seemed to see Alexandra as a goddess and had trouble accepting or understanding her flaws. Most of the story is seen through his eyes, and it tends to color characters that are against Alexandra as bad and one sided. Other characters include Camillo Lombardi who is a skeptic but then becomes Alexandra's follower as well as extremely dedicated. Then there is Nigel who is in denial and will do whatever he can to discredit Alexandra and Camillo.


There is a lot of unexplained phenomena


The story is told in first person narrative from Tomasso's point of view. I admired that one can see the characters in the story from his point of view, but for me it seemed that others are seen at an expense of his own development, at least until the end, and frustratingly enough, the author seemed to be vague with Tomasso's future in a certain area. However, it is obvious that the author has done a lot of research when it came to the time period and people who populate it.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author03_Michael Schmicker 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 FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

I have no doubt that a lot of people dabbled a little in the spiritual realm whether by use of horoscopes, tarot cards, numerology, fortunetellers, and so forth. Personally for me, I also dabbled a little in the esoteric realm of tarot cards and astrology. I often imagine that these things are more of diversion rather than something to take seriously. This book, interestingly enough, pits esoteric realms versus science and reason within one woman and her group of haters and supporters. The narrator of the story strikes me as biased and doesn't present the other side as clearly as one hopes. There is conflict and difficulty in reconciling the two, but how the psychic managed to do these feats is certainly baffling for reason. Its an interesting read and look at how the psychics were seen and tested as well as some of the powers they possessed, but it doesn't really establish the mystery that the author hopes for.

This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The Witch of Napoli Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 17
Review at Book Babe
Wednesday, February 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Thursday, February 19
Review & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream
Interview at Books and Benches
Saturday, February 21
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Sunday, February 22
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, February 23
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, February 24
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews
Wednesday, February 25
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, February 27
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Saturday, February 28
Spotlight at I Heart Reading
Monday, March 2
Review at A Book Drunkard
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
Tuesday, March 3
Review at Unshelfish
Wednesday, March 4
Review at Carpe Librum
Thursday, March 5
Interview at Carpe Librum
Friday, March 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, March 9
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, March 11
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, March 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Tuesday, March 17
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Wednesday, March 18
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Thursday, March 19
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Friday, March 20
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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