um…riiiiight.

 

In my defense, I knew exactly what I was getting into when I picked up the book and read the inside jacket flap.  I mean, I could smell the rancid odor of “cliche” while I was walking down the shelves in the library.  I guess I’m just a sucker for books with really long title names.  “In the Tenth House” was long enough.  Both title wise and page wise.

Allow me to paraphrase the plot:

London, 1896; Dr. Gennett can’t shake his fear when, on the train station platform, he heard her speak when he went to her aid after an accident.  He didn’t know her – but she knew him.  She spoke prophecy and then disappeared into the crowd.  Gennett, a “mad doctor” who specialized in the new Freudian theories of the mind, vows to find this young woman again, partly to help her and largely to prove to himself that she is not as supernatural as she seems.

Lily Embly is a fake medium but a real psychic – or at least that’s what she believes.  Struggling to rise above the lifelong debts she and her mother have.  Helping her mother rip off the superstitious and rich, Lily stokes the flames of the Victorian love of the supernatural.  When she teams up with a dangerous con man in order to finally be rid of her debts and lifestyle.  She runs back into Dr. Gennett when she tries to con his sister.

Now is it a battle of wills and wit between the charlatan and the “mad doctor” as both fight to keep their sanity; one to prove the falsehood of the supernatural, the other clinging to it for dear life.

And that is a fancy paraphrased embellishment. 

Anyway, the book – such as it was – was not a bad read; the writer had me curious as the plot developed and characters went from being one dimensional to one dimensionally silly.

Laura Dietz, the author (because everyone’s gotta have the more ostentatious title) had some idea of what she was writing and I am going on the assumption that she knew what she was talking about when she described the time period.  I wasn’t so entrenched into the story that I felt the need to go and check up on her historical accuracy. 

The plot, I thought, was brilliantly contrived and, had the storyline not been so transparent, maybe I would have read it slowly.  As it was, towards the end, I was skimming chapters just to finish it.  In short, great story but it was about 15-20 chapters too long.  The whole plot could have been done as a novella – because frankly, not enough information was given to the reader to justify the excess pages.

Anyway, I give this a 2.5 out of 5 stars.  Because somewhere in the mess of needless information and contrived love making, there was a good story.

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