Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker

02_The Witch of Napoli CoverPublication Date: January 15, 2015
Palladino Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fantasy

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Italy 1899: Fiery-tempered, erotic 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. 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.

Praised by Kirkus Reviews as an “enchanting and graceful narrative” that absorbs readers from the very first page, The Witch of Napoli masterfully resurrects the bitter 19th century battle between Science and religion over the possibility of an afterlife.
My review:
5 stars
Copy received from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
Once I started "The Witch of Napoli" by Michael Schmicker I couldn't put it down.  The first sentence "Alessandra is dead" perfectly set the tone for the story that was to follow.  We learn that Alessandra is a is a Spiritualist.  The voice of the story is told in the first person about who Alessandra is as a woman and as a spiritualist.  As different characters enter the story they all become impacted by Alessandra.  Although her fame is rising her life also becomes impacted by different characters that either want to defraud her or want to take advantage of her powers. 

There were different things I loved about this story. One I loved the premise.  A "witch" as the center of the plot intrigued me.  Two, I loved the first person narrative about Alessandra.  I liked that we got to see her story through someone else's eyes.  Alessandra's mystic and charisma is a big hook of not only the story but what draws different characters to her. Finally, the story never lagged.  It was interesting from start to finish and although I knew the ending it left me sad to see her story end.  

Praise for The Witch of Napoli

"Impressive...an enchanting, graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page." -Kirkus Reviews

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 Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, March 9
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, March 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

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
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, March 19
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, March 20
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

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