Maggie and Kate Fox were mischievous children, known to play tricks on each other as well as their parents. Then one day their trickster nature goes extreme. Wanting to scare away their disliked niece, the girls pull the ultimate prank. They produce nighttime rapping noises and lead the niece and the rest of the family to believe the house is haunted and “spirits” are the source of the noise. Not only do they scare their family, but their neighbors too. A harmless prank snowballs into a full-blown deception. The girls move to Rochester to live with their sister Leah, and soon Leah is in on the scheme. Word gets around that the girls can speak to the departed and they have spirit circles with their neighbors. In too deep, can the Fox sister break free of their trickery? An adventurer named Elisha Kane comes along and is smitten by Maggie. The two soon fall in love, but Elisha cannot pursue a courtship as long as Maggie continues to involve herself in rapping. Is love enough to make Maggie leave the family business?
The story really breaks down into two plots: first the inception and development of the Fox sisters as mediums, and then the beautiful love story between Elisha and Maggie, which I think was the heart of the book. I honestly didn’t care for the details of the spirit circles, but I adored the relationship between Maggie and her true love! The couple was very devoted to each other, and it made the book so compelling to see where exactly they were headed. They came from very different backgrounds, and endured many difficulties and some unforeseen separations.
In regards to the spirit circles, to see the progression of their trickery made for an interesting read. And, this is a true story – I was quite surprised these Fox sisters did indeed start this “spiritual” movement. Who would have predicted a prank would have turned into such a widespread phenomena. The story takes place in the late 19th century, and the details of the era are blended nicely. This is Dianne K. Salerini’s first full-length novel, and I think she did a great job with this unusual part of our history.
Thanks to the publishers (Sourcebooks Fire) for providing me with a copy of the book for this review.
Author’s website: http://www.highspiritsbook.com/