Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Haunt Me Still

Finished May 25
Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell

I enjoyed Carrell's earlier book Interred with their Bones and so picked up this one. Definitely another good one. Kate Stanley is back again and this time a wealthy Scottish woman, Lady Nairn, wants her to direct a very special production of Macbeth.
Lady Nairn was a famous actress years before, who retired when she met and suddenly married the Scottish lord. She is now widowed, but wants to mount the production to carry our her late husband's wishes to showcase his Macbeth collection. The lady is also the guardian of her granddaughter Lily, a fifteen-year-old girl, still grieving her parents' deaths and vulnerable to those who would take advantage of her yearning for them.
Carrell is a scholar of literature and uses her knowledge to build this story around Macbeth, drawing from legends around the play, what is known about the play's origins, and real history, not only of Macbeth, but also of a later Scottish noble that Shakespeare could have had contact with, Elizabeth Stewart, countess of Arran. I like the detail and how she mixes the real with the imagined to create a gripping story.
She also uses pagan ritual, the religion of Wicca, and the use of darker magic that is erroneously connected to the white magic of Wicca. This was also very interesting to see real depictions of the religion along with the myths that many scared of it connect it with.
This is a battle of good and evil, where those acting in greed, revenge, or self-aggrandisement care little for others in their quest for their own ends. Kate is, of course, on the side of good, and her knowledge and expertise in Shakespeare and Elizabethan drama work to lead her in the right direction. But as she struggles to stay one step ahead of those who would stop at nothing, she cannot be sure who to trust.
Ben is back here as well, and plays a key role, but we see much less of him than we would like. However, the plot dictates this, and there is hope for future books with these two.
The plot moves the reader along quickly and makes this book a real page-turner.

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