Synopses & Reviews
In his first novel, the national bestselling The Book of Shadows
,James Reese beguiled readers with a boldly imaginative, darkly erotic tale of awakening that introduced the captivating and deeply unusual Herculine. Now this extraordinary writer continues Herculine's incredible journey of self-discovery -- a search that will lead her into a world of shadows and perils, where she will taste the forbidden and find redemption.
September 1826. Taught to trust ... and to learn by a quartet of remarkable saviors, Herculine is bound for America, leaving behind a strange and violent past in France for an uncertain future in an exotic new land. Arriving in Virginia, Herculine is led by fate to Mother-of-Venus, a mysterious old slave woman who is blessed with gifts both terrifying and strange, and to a young poet named Edgar Poe who is haunted by evils of the past. Under the mystical guidance of Mammy Venus, Herculine soon calls upon her powerful legacy to rescue Celia, a beautiful, damaged slave. Landing in the coastal wilds of Florida, Celia stirs passions -- and dark, otherworldly powers -- within Herculine, propelling them into an erotic obsession that only the missing witch Sebastiana d'Azur can break.
Hope comes in a missive that will lure the desperate Herculine north, to the chaotic streets of New York and a strange, magical house in which the confused and eager witch is accepted by a band of like-minded sisters and introduced to exquisite carnal pleasures. Finally loosed from the shackles of shame and desire, Herculine heads south once again to find salvation and fulfill her destiny.
Set in a time of promise and peril, bondage and bloodshed, James Reese's lush, richly atmospheric, and beautifully told tale shatters the boundaries between the living and the dead, the magical and the ordinary, the imagined and the historical. A novel of the mind and the senses, The Book of Spirits is a mesmerizing and unforgettable work from an exceptional talent.
“[I]nvolving, richly detailed... will surely delight fans…as well as convert new readers” Booklist
“James Reeses startling second novel is filled with magic and heartbreak…It is a sumptuous feast for the senses.” Eric Van Lustbader , New York Times bestselling author
“[E]tensively researched, intense and always colorful...Herculine invades our consciousness, a sympathetic character from another dimension.” Tampa Tribune
“[L]ush and engaging.” New Orleans Times-Picayune
“[C]ompelling sequel...the many varied settings and particulars of the time period are vividly portrayed.” Publishers Weekly
In a world of shadows and perils, she will taste the forbidden . . . and find redemption.
Woman, man, witch, communer with the dead, Herculine is bound for America in September 1826, leaving behind a strange and violent past in France and armed with the powerful knowledge gained from a quartet of remarkable mentors. In Virginia, fate will lead Herculine to the mysterious Mammy Venus-possessor of gifts at once wondrous and terrifying-to a haunted young poet named Edgar Poe . . . and to Celia, a beautiful, damaged slave, who stirs her would-be savior/lover's passions and ignites her dark, otherworldly powers. So begins an odyssey of self-discovery and erotic obsession that will carry Herculine from the coastal wilds of Florida to the chaotic streets of New York-to be liberated by carnality and forever changed in the aftermath of bloody rebellion.
< p=""> The year is 1826, and a lone figure stands on the deck of a ship bound for Virginia, leaving behind a strange and violent childhood in France. Not quite a woman, our heroine Herculine knows not where life will lead her. But a chance enounter with a beautiful slave awakens passions H has known only once& ndash; & ndash; and soon dark and otherworldly powers bring the slave under her spell, forming a relationship so erotic and desperate that only H's teacher& ndash; & ndash; the witch Sebastiana& ndash; & ndash; holds the key to release the slave from the bonds that shackle her. <> < p=""> So H flees to Manhattan, where she hopes to find the missing Sebastiana. But within the chaos of the city& ndash; & ndash; and amidst the carnal celebrations of her New York home& ndash; & ndash; H risks forgeting her quest for her teacher, and losing sight of what brought her to the city. And against a backdrop of sensous celebration and a country quickly growing apart, H's search leads her south again& ndash; & ndash; to locate her beloved, discover the true nature of who she is, and ultimately, find redemption.<>
About the Author
James Reese is the author of The Witchery, The Book of Spirits, and The Book of Shadows. He lives in South Florida and Paris, France.