Updated review 7-25-2015
*Won this book courtesy of a Goodreads giveaway sponsored by Michael Schmicker. So glad I won a copy because it was FAN-TABULOUS!* I also received a digital review copy from NetGalley. I'm happy to provide my review to each and all.
Oh my! Loved loved this highly entertaining, fictional account of an Italian "Queen of Spirits" and her entourage of friends, photographers, mentors, lovers, and enemies. THE WITCH OF NAPOLI turns out to be one of my favorite reads of 2015. Yes! It was THAT GOOD! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Never a dull moment when in the company of Alessandra Poverelli, whether she's levitating tables or channeling the green eyed monster known as Savaonarola. Her young friend, Tommaso LaBella, the photographer hired to document events, is the narrator of the story and a fine character to boot. Alessandra and Tommaso compliment each other perfectly. I found their relationship endearing, often humorous. While Alessandra IS the story's subject, Tommaso often stole the show. He has a mad crush on the much older spirit medium, as do most that encounter the fiery Alessandra, and he is always at her beckon call. Tommaso also spends a great deal of his time trying to keep Alessandra out of trouble and trouble always seems to find them both in the forms of Pigotti, her abusive mobster husband, the Vatican, and an English investigator named Nigel Huxley. The possessive Pigotti wants to kill them both. The Vatican wants Alessandra to cease and desist all seance activities. If she does not, the Vatican will reveal secrets that could destroy Alessandra. Huxley, the snooty detective, is hell bent on exposing the medium as a fraudulent trickster. All this while traveling around Europe with Professor Lombardi, Alessandra's mentor and greatest champion! So good!!
Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and well known writer on scientific anomalies and the paranormal. While THE WITCH OF NAPOLI is fictional, the story was inspired by the real life story of Italian medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918).