I should preface this by saying I LOVE books about witches, mediums, and especially the Spiritualist movement from the turn of the century. So yes, I was predisposed to like the mystical “Queen of Spirits”, Alessandra Poverelli, and her loyal followers, and to root against those determined to undermine her powers. Add to this the fact that it takes place in Italy, is based on a true-life story, and yes, you had me at “The Witch”.
I have read other books on this topic, and I am rarely disappointed, so I am pretty much a sure thing when it comes to this topic, as long as the story is well told, and there are no egregious grammatical errors to distract me. I think this is because, despite my natural skepticism and proofs to the contrary, mystics and psychics make me want to believe. In the case of Alessandra, my tendency to root for the underdog and to will her out of her poverty by way of magic, is strong. The battle between science and religion in the Spiritualist movement is interesting, strange and littered with also-rans and what ifs from a long line of almost-credible mediums and witches. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle got wrapped up in it at one point, so I consider myself in good company. Like the Spiritualist’s messy history, Alessandra’s story does not come with a big Hollywood ending. For me, that was completely satisfying. But you probably knew that already, right?