Review of Victorian Songlight: The Birthings of Magic & Mystery by Kathy Martone

The first thing the reader will notice about this novel is the rich texture of the setting.

This thought-provoking tale is set in the Ozark Mountains right off the bat, providing a luscious ambiance for the plot. It is a setting equipped with the authentic feel of its time and place, old furniture and full of Victorian touches. The author explores local folklore, legends and community mysteries, including ample historical context to add layers of verisimilitude and realism to her story. The characters engage with spiritual connections echoing through the past, leaving the reader to ponder their greater significance as the story unfolds.

The author clearly put research and knowledge to use, while retaining a playful and reliable pathos throughout. Through the eyes of our main character, we experience the joys of discovering a wilderness more alive than our mundane urban existence. Furthermore, she incorporates vivid imagery, tons of descriptive detail, magic and romance to keep you turning pages. The writing has a slightly poetic and psychedelic bent which is offset by many references to intimate details within its characters’ lives, as she showcases their diverse backgrounds and differing viewpoints.

Coupled with realistic dialogue and historical flair the short chapters add a quick pace through the unpredictable tale of superstition, and psychic abilities intertwined with a moving drama.

You can perceive an appreciation for childhood wonderment and a sense of a past full of mystery and imaginative potential, while exposing the reader to Eastern learning, contrasted with the Western life depicted in Kate’s personal life. The daily details ground the narrative among its supernatural elements.
When Kate embarks on a new sort of life, the reader is given the rewarding experience of following along on her spiritual journey. The novel also tackles the processing of childhood traumas and the affect early life has on our development, bringing into play a strong understanding of human psychology and New Age insight amid a classic tale of redemption and growth.

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