Winter’s nights are long and it’s only natural to pull out a good ghost story to set the mood and this Venetian ghost story does the job, well.
19th century expectations are high for women and forgiveness is hard to come by in this romantic, paranormal, thriller.
Shamed, Elina Spira must escape scandal and distance herself from a naïve act of misjudgment that has destroyed her family. With her father’s medical career on the line, as her penance, she travels to Venice to care for the injured, epileptic son of a wealthy couple.
Upon arrival, she expects a fine home of a nobleman, nonetheless, the situation appears grim as soon as the gondola arrives at the ruined Ca’ Basilo palazzo. With little choice, despite the dilapidated conditions of the manor, her family’s livelihood is at stake, the pressure to succeed in Venice is monumental for the twenty-four year old nurse so, she must enter and complete the task.
Very soon, she realizes nothing is as she expected and everyone she meets in Venice has a secret that eventually interferes with her goals and ultimately her sensible beliefs.
Keeping this in mind, in 1885, feared, epilepsy often meant living the remainder of one’s life in a sanitarium for the mentally ill. At the forefront of the anomalies is her patient Samuel’s secret affliction with epilepsy, and although it is a secret she shares with her patient, even that is not a clear answer for his behavior. Eventually, Elena must open her mind to the possibility that Samuel’s episodes might actually be a manifestation of insanity or stranger yet, a ghostly presence.
Well, as secrets begin oozing out of cracks in the ancient plaster walls; Elena’s life becomes even more personally complicated as she becomes romantically involved with the owner of the broken-down estate. Trapped between two males, she must balance her attention between her lover and her patient. Meanwhile, a ghostly ex-fiancé just won’t let bygones rest.
On a personal note as the mother of an epileptic, the revelation that the mystery dealt with the disorder drew me in like a magnet. Author Megan Chance not only orchestrates a fabulous mystery, but also incorporates the timeless issue into her story.
Her characters contend with societal repercussions concerning Samuel’s seizure disorder, an illness that in modern day reality has not evolved much since 1884. After reading the book, I’m guessing this is a fact the author understands, well.
Published by Lake Union Publishing, The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story is available on Amazon, Audible, and other book retailers.
The audio version is wonderfully eerie.
|Review by Sammy Sutton|