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High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and…
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High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance (edição 2007)

por Dianne K Salerni

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14110193,474 (3.76)2
"Readers will be swept along with Maggie and Kate as they bamboozle an entire nation, and will feel for Maggie as she debates whether or not to leave the profession...Dianne K. Salerni has written a brilliant debut novel." -TeensReadToo.com Maggie: I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. Kate: I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of the events that have happened. To her the spirits were always a game. For me they were my life's calling. I have no regrets. It starts as a harmless prank...then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living alie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions. Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what's real and what's right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you. What Readers Are Saying: "Masterfully written...a first-class novel." "A crafty, enchanting, mesmerizing read." "Adventure, romance, heartbreak, a bit of history, and a story that will touch you." "Dianne Salerni is masterful." "An enjoyable ride...and one well worth taking." "A great read that had me turning pages long after I should have gone to bed."… (mais)
Membro:chocolatechip
Título:High Spirits: A Tale of Ghostly Rapping and Romance
Autores:Dianne K Salerni
Informação:iUniverse, Inc. (2007), Paperback, 366 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
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We Hear the Dead por Dianne Salerni

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Interesting story of two sisters who do "spirit rapping" in the 1800s. What started as a prank turned into a livelihood for them. I didn't realize until the afterword that this was based on real events. As such, the ending was lackluster. ( )
  Sarah220 | Jan 23, 2021 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A combination of religion, history, and romance that is quite captivating, using a difficult time period to make the reader see right and wrong in a whole new way through absorbing events and characters.

Opening Sentence: I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong.

The Review:

What really makes We Hear the Dead so intriguing is that it’s based on a true story. The events and characters are on the verge of unbelievable, preposterous even, but in all reality, desperate times lead to desperate measures, and the pre-Civil War era of this story is more desperate than most. Dianne K. Salerni really proves herself to be able to write a novel that depicts quite accurately so many elements from history but then builds on that to make everything seem real and applicable to an audience. The author has done her job when the reader can both relate to the characters and feel strongly for the well-being of the characters.

The novel is written heavily from Maggie’s perspective, although we do randomly get kicked over to Kate’s mind for a chapter here or there. It is understandable why the author did this, because Kate’s perspective is an important one, given firstly that she is the one who really started the stories and the rapping, and secondly that she claims that she does possess a second sight and is not always deceptive, but that she really feels and sees the things that she communicates. However, the way the book is written really shows us that it is Maggie’s story to tell. It seems that either the two should be more equal tellers of the story, or that the story should be Maggie’s alone to tell, using some other method to convey Kate’s perspective. There is just a loss of balance in the narrative, maybe it seems a slight fall to convenience for the author in what she has chosen to do.

That being said, all three of the Fox sisters, Leah, Maggie, and Kate, are highly compelling characters, and it stands to reason that the dynamic among them, also to include their mother, is almost as engaging as the romance between Maggie and Elisha Kent Kane. Anyone with sisters can relate to this dynamic, however, in order to be successful in the business they start, their personalities have to be powerful and magnetic, which indeed they are. When they combine forces, they are indeed a formidable opponent, however, as Maggie starts to regret the pull the other two have on her and tries to pull back, chaos does eventually ensue, and the relationships can never quite be mended. Seeing this story from Maggie’s perspective is so enlightening, as we can really see that she is a kind-hearted person who believes deep down that she is helping people much more than she is harming them, even though she outright knows that she has no special abilities to summon spirits. It is hard to judge her critically as she accomplishes many things through this business, and the fact that she is able to remain mostly respectable, independent as a woman, and successful at what she does is quite remarkable.

Kate is an entirely different case in point because she actually believes she can feel the other world and its pull. It seems that most of the time she is just playing the part, but sometimes she steps up to a higher cause. Since her own sisters never quite believe her, the reader is unsure whether to trust her second sight either. We never develop a relationship with her as intimate as the one we have with Maggie, so it is hard to feel as much sympathy or understanding for her. Throughout the novel, she seems to rely more on the excitement and risk-taking involved than just the money she is earning or even the people she is helping. She is very creative and although she may or may not receive intuition from the spirits, it was still her idea originally to dramatize everything with the rappings, and eventually the movement of objects, and even spirit writing. She also seems quite consumed by guilt, as much as she tries to hide it, inherent in her drinking and her inability to focus on a steady relationship.

It would seem unlikely that the story could have more to it than the Fox sisters successfully starting their own enterprise as a new religious concept, however, when Elisha Kent Kane, another dominant and influential personality enters the picture, our heroine has to start acting like an adult and making her own decisions. Interestingly enough, those telling her to stand up for herself and make her own decisions are still telling her what to do. Ultimately, Maggie’s own decisions matter little in the outcome of the story, and poetically, fate still plays the largest role. It almost becomes difficult for the reader to accept this is based on a true story at this point, because we want so much to believe that Maggie can somewhat control her own destiny despite the odds against her.

Overall, this book is worth every minute of reading. All of the elements that I personally value in a novel were there, and Salerni was successful in providing an entertaining and readable outlet for the story of the Fox sisters that contained several aspects of entertainment, not just one. I was pleased with the overall balance of the different elements of romance, risk and danger, family relationships, individual character dilemmas and societal concepts that were addressed.

Notable Scene:

I could not control the flush that came to my cheeks nor force down the smile that curved my lips when I came to his final paragraph. I glanced guiltily at Leah, who was scrutinizing me with her stern gaze, but she had no comment to make.

In my reply, I addressed his question, defending myself from the criticism that he had so ably wrapped in silky words. “While I cannot pretend to lofty deeds which will expand the sphere of the globe and the knowledge of mankind all at once, I affirm a smaller, more personal goal in my actions. It is the meek and humble who come to me, broken with grief, racked by guilt, unable to escape the icy grip of despair, and it is to these poor souls I address my efforts.” Honey laced with tonic, indeed!

FTC Advisory: Sourcebooks Fire provided me with a copy of We Hear the Dead. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jan 15, 2014 |
Review by: Grace J

We Hear the Dead is based on the true story of Maggie and Kate Fox, who are credited with discovering spiritualism, or conversing with the spirits of the dead. It tells the story of how the girls accidentally discovered spiritualism by playing a prank on their niece to scare her out of their house. As the story goes on, Maggie Fox falls in love with the most celebrated explorer of the time, Elisha Kane, but his family and their social classes create a conflict between them. The book is a combination of historical fiction and romance, both of which I love, but the writing style seems to be a strange combination of modern and archaic speech, which is awkward.
Review by: Mattie

Finally! This is just what I was looking for. ( )
  bplteen | Apr 27, 2012 |
Man. I’m not a big person for history. Wait, that’s a lie. I majored in CLASSICS for crying out loud. I love history. But sometimes reading about it can be dry. I have yet to meet a history textbook that I could befriend. And my high school history teacher? Let’s just say she and I never saw eye to eye. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get sucked in by a good historical fiction — especially a story filled with intrigue based on the lives of some really real — really spooky — sisters.

Dianne K. Salerni‘s WE HEAR THE DEAD is as riveting as it is mysterious. If you haven’t heard of the Fox sisters, you’ll want to know everything about them by the time you’re finished with Salerni‘s story. Maggie Fox — the narrator for most of the story — never meant for a prank to turn into a nationwide phenomenon. When her much older sister Leah’s daughter Lizzie comes to visit, Maggie and her younger sister Kate are none too thrilled. Lizzie is seventeen, slightly older than Maggie and Kate, and not the brightest crayon in the box. So when Kate and Maggie insinuate that the sounds coming from the bedroom of their rental house might be ghosts, Lizzie falls for it instantly.

Before long, the Fox girls’ parents are looking around for the source of the sounds, followed by the neighbors. Soon, Kate and Maggie are so entrenched in their prank that they can’t turn it around. They’re making “rapping” noises to feign spirit communication and are acting as mediums. And when Leah finds out, she tells Kate and Maggie they have a choice: do what she says and take their act to a whole new level, or be exposed.

As the girls move around the Northeast promoting Spiritualism, Maggie falls deeper and deeper into the ruse, while Kate begins to believe that she actually has “the sight.” Sometimes the girls are met as celebrities, and sometimes chased away as witches, their notoriety building with every “spirit circle.” Maggie worries about her sister, and constantly must reconcile her deception with the good she hopes it brings her customers. But when she meets famed explorer, the young, charming Dr. Elisha Kane, who believes that Maggie is better than her life as a supposed medium, and love could be her undoing.

Part mystery, part romance, part history and all drama, WE HEAR THE DEAD is a true page-turner that even the “I only read nonfiction” types won’t be able to put down. And while it works solidly as YA, with all its 1850s charm and the strong narrative voice, I’d love to see this title cross-marketed in adult historical fiction sections. I can’t wait to see what Dianne Salerni comes out with next! ( )
  EKAnderson | May 9, 2011 |
About once a year, sad-eyed teens wander into my library, sigh, and tell me that their teacher is making them read historical fiction. Now most of the time I can send the boys away happy – here in my library the words “Walter Dean Myers” and “Vietnam War” work wonders – but a certain type of girl groans at everything I pull out and casts sad eyes towards the Twilight books and whatever PC Cast happens to be on the shelf that day. They’re looking for a little bit of the supernatural and a whole lot of romance, but it’s got to be realistic fiction with a strong historical bent. And Dianne Salerni has found a story that a history teacher and a teenage girl can get equally excited about.

Kate and Maggie Fox only meant to play a practical joke, but their ability to make loud rapping noises with their joints – combined with a few strange coincidences – have the whole town convinced that the young sisters can converse with the dead. And when their shrewd Aunt Leah gets involved, the girls find themselves in the center of the newly formed Spiritualist movement, with their services highly desired for seances and sittings.

A rift grows between Maggie, who struggles with her conscience as their growing fame and need for secrecy make her more and more uncomfortable, and Kate, who is either completely convinced that their talent is genuine or a frighteneningly good liar. The narrative is split between the two girls with Maggie getting the majority of the chapters – which is a good choice, since Kate’s chapters are told from the perspective of someone who is either crazy or an incredible manipulator, neither of which make her easy to relate to as a narrator. Maggie, on the other hand, is easy to sympathize with as she is swept up in a series of events that are often beyond her control.

It’s a compelling piece of history – the kind of history that just begs for the YA treatment. And Salerni has clearly done her research, both on the Fox sisters and on the period. Details are vivid, and the narrative touches on other important historical movements of the time in interesting ways, particularly women’s liberation. In the second half of the book, Maggie’s relationship with a famous Arctic explorer provides some wonderful opportunities to explore issues of class, gender, and power in the late 19th Century.

While Salerni’s historical accuracy and clear love for the period and the story are welcome, they do lead to one of my pet peeves for historical fiction based on a true story – Salerni’s desire to tell every part of the Fox sisters’ story means that this book is loooooong. We Hear the Dead is strongest in the beginning, when the sisters were first caught up in their deceptions, and in the second half, when Maggie’s love interest provides a firm plot arc for her character. The central part of the book, which relates a part of the Fox sisters’ story that does not have as natural a narrative arc, did not always hold my interest as a reader. A tighter focus would have benefitted the book and made it a little bit more approachable in terms of length. Despite that reservation, Salerni tells an engaging story that will appeal to many teens. ( )
  twonickels | Nov 12, 2010 |
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"Readers will be swept along with Maggie and Kate as they bamboozle an entire nation, and will feel for Maggie as she debates whether or not to leave the profession...Dianne K. Salerni has written a brilliant debut novel." -TeensReadToo.com Maggie: I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. Kate: I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of the events that have happened. To her the spirits were always a game. For me they were my life's calling. I have no regrets. It starts as a harmless prank...then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living alie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions. Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what's real and what's right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you. What Readers Are Saying: "Masterfully written...a first-class novel." "A crafty, enchanting, mesmerizing read." "Adventure, romance, heartbreak, a bit of history, and a story that will touch you." "Dianne Salerni is masterful." "An enjoyable ride...and one well worth taking." "A great read that had me turning pages long after I should have gone to bed."

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