>Guest Author Deborah Noyes:Book Giveaway for CAPTIVITY

>Please welcome to The Burton Review author Deborah Noyes, who has written several books such as Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China, Hana in the Time of Tulips and her most recent novel, Captivity (see below for the book giveaway!):



This masterful historical novel by Deborah Noyes, the lauded author of Angel & Apostle, The Ghosts of Kerfol, and Encyclopedia of the End (starred PW) is two stories: The first centers upon the strange, true tale of the Fox Sisters, the enigmatic family of young women who, in upstate New York in 1848, proclaimed that they could converse with the dead. Doing so, they unwittingly (but artfully) gave birth to a religious movement that touched two continents: the American Spiritualists. Their followers included the famous and the rich, and their effect on American spirituality lasted a full generation. Still, there are echoes. The Fox Sisters is a story of ambition and playfulness, of illusion and fear, of indulgence, guilt and finally self-destruction. The second story in Captivity is about loss and grief. It is the evocative tale of the bright promise that the Fox Sisters offer up to the skeptical Clara Gill, a reclusive woman of a certain age who long ago isolated herself with her paintings, following the scandalous loss of her beautiful young lover in London. Lyrical and authentic and more than a bit shadowy Captivity is, finally, a tale about physical desire and the hope that even the thinnest faith can offer up to a darkening heart.

From the author:
Unpuzzling Maggie Fox: Spirit Photographs, Canal Packets, and a Town that Talks to the Dead

As soon as I read about them, I was drawn to the real-life rags-to-riches story of the Fox sisters. Two ordinary farm girls from Western New York, Maggie and Kate Fox gripped their community by claiming to be able to communicate with the dead. They became celebrities in the bargain, sowing the seeds of an international religious movement that would eventually claim a million followers.

I’m not sure why Maggie stood out for me. There were three Fox sisters, after all (older sister Leah assumed the role of manager), each with her own vivid traits. Any one of them would have made a great protagonist. But there was something about Maggie’s expression in the handful of famous archival images that populate her biographies: a dreamy, withholding quality. Unlike forceful Leah or otherworldly Kate, Maggie seemed at once guileless and childlike, secretive and knowing, intent and sad. She was, she looked, a contradiction, and I found I had to unpuzzle her.

I’m a photographer, too, so images often point me to or nourish a story. I’ve always been intrigued by the historical phenomenon of spirit photography, and the year I started mulling Maggie, I happened across a very cool exhibit at the Met called “The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult,” which kept her and her family in my thoughts.

But it was a few months later, when I visited Lily Dale for a nonfiction book I was also researching, that Captivity really began to take shape.    

Founded more than 120 years ago, Lily Dale is a quaint Victorian hamlet on a lake in Western New York. One of the first area communities to score electricity, it was nicknamed “The City of Light,” but it’s best known today as “the town that talks to the dead.” Every year, thousands of guests crowd through its gates to sit with resident mediums. In the busy summer season, there are dozens on hand, and each has passed a rigorous test before hanging out her or his shingle.

In the lobby of the Maplewood hotel, tourists testify over morning coffee, trade tales of spirits and furniture on the move, of knocks and noises in the night. They collect out by “the stump” at the Forest Temple, where mediums spot eager visitors from the Beyond and “serve spirit” by delivering messages to loved ones in the audience.

Lily Dale boasts a long, colorful history. Movie star Mae West was a regular, and Houdini came in disguise to expose deception. Suffragette Susan B. Anthony stopped in now and then — though she wasn’t a spiritualist herself — and when a medium relayed a message from her aunt, fired back (in legend anyway) with, “I didn’t like her when she was alive, and I don’t want to hear from her now.”

Early spiritualists were advocates of progressive political causes, but today Lily Dale leans more toward sweat lodge ceremonies, New Age workshops such as “Dreams and Astral Travel,” and other recreational fare.

This fascinating slice of Americana can be traced, at least peripherally, back to Maggie and her family. My visit to Lily Dale helped me understand her playful side, her sense of showmanship — though other aspects of Maggie’s character wouldn’t reveal themselves until I enlisted the book’s second protagonist, the skeptical Clara Gill, as foil.

While drafting the book, I did a couple of stints at the Gell Center of the Finger Lakes, an intimate writer’s retreat in a remote mountain valley. I live in a city now, and sadly, silence is far from my daily experience; so the utter quiet and isolation at the retreat really fed whatever haunted fantasies I came in with! The first night or so, I was scared out of my wits, almost too spooked to write. But you have no business being complacent when you’re writing about the dead as much as the living, so I’m sure my unease served the story. Long walks by day among tangled wild grapes — glimpses of deer and foxes — gave me insight into the wild world Maggie would have taken for granted and that Clara, a naturalist, immigrant, and artist, so much valued.

Marker in memory of the Fox sisters, Hydesville, NY

Another dedicated research trip involved detective work and an afternoon driving around Arcadia County in search the Fox family homestead. The farmhouse itself was gone (the cottage had been relocated to Lily Dale, I later learned, where it burned down) with only a simple cornerstone memorial marking the site where, in 1848, Maggie and Kate Fox first demonstrated their spectral “rappings.”  But the landscape of that part of rural New York still looks as it must have in the sisters’ day, and it was easy to imagine Maggie and Kate riding back and forth on the canal packet or traipsing through brother David’s peppermint fields, bent on wearing big bell sleeves and crashing progressive tea parties in Rochester.

Deb’s website: http://www.deborahnoyes.com/

Thanks to Deborah for this guest post, and for the opportunity for my readers in USA and Canada to win a copy of her novel, CAPTIVITY..
Please comment here with your email address to enter for this book giveaway.
+2 entries if you Facebook or Tweet this post; you must leave me the link to that.

Ends July 25th.



Filed under Deborah Noyes

30 responses to “>Guest Author Deborah Noyes:Book Giveaway for CAPTIVITY

  1. I actually have Deborah's book, The Ghosts of Kerfol, on my wishlist. Captivity sounds very intriguing as well. Please count me in. :D+2 Facebooked: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=695450277&v=wall&story_fbid=110801098972468~Brianathebookpixie%5Bat%5Dyahoo%5Bdot%5Dcom

  2. I would love to win this book, it sounds very good.+2 Tweeted. http://twitter.com/amandawk/status/18684780966amandarwest at gmaildotcom

  3. Family lore says that my grandparents practiced spiritualism back in early 1920s; I'd love to know more about the practice. Thanks for the giveaway. lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I would love to see it. I havent seen reviews yet but may make a good addition to the library.

  5. Please don't enter me Marie. I have already read and reviewed Captivity. I loved it. Ms. Noyes has such a unique writing style.

  6. I am very interested in reading this book. Please enter me in this contest. Thank you.CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  7. Great post. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!Tweeted – http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/18735526555bacchus76 at myself dot com

  8. Thank you for entering me. =)tiredwkids at live dot com

  9. Oh yes…sounds like my cup of tea. Excellent guest post too!I tweeted: http://twitter.com/truebookaddict/status/18754750962Thanks for the giveaway!miller4plusmore(at)bellsouth(dot)net

  10. I would love to read Captivity. Count me in.nancysoffices at gmail dot com

  11. Please include me in your giveaway.ThanksDebbie Ddebdesk9(at)verizon.net

  12. Thanks for having this giveaway!allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. Interesting! I would like to be entered.Thanks for having the giveaway. (:justanotherbookaddict(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

  14. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading! Enjoyed the review about it.pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

  15. Please enter me! I'd love to read it!meredithfl at gmail dot com

  16. this sounds intriguing thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

  17. Sounds like my kind of book

  18. I would love to read this!bmweida at yahoo dot com

  19. What fascinating reads. Isn't it amazing the power of the mind to influence generations.sharonaquilino at hotmail dot com

  20. Sounds interesting. Thanks.caliblue7 at gmail dot com

  21. Please enter me I would love to read this book.

  22. I have been dying to read this book and would love to win it!choateorama(at)gmail(dot)com

  23. This book sounds very interesting to me, and I would enjoy reading it very much. Please enter me. Thanks!ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  24. Your synopsis of this book is intriguing and one that I would like to read. Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway. steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

  25. What a incredible sounding book. It sounds like a great book to read. Thanks for the chance+2 posted to Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000922668816&v=wall&story_fbid=137035816328432jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

  26. I have this one and it is fascinating. I became interested in the Fox Sisters phenomenon after reading Diane Salerni's book We Hear the Dead.

  27. Very good guest post. The background of the movement and these young women is interesting. I have read several articles about the community of Lily Dale lately. There was also a TV spot about the town and the mediums that live there. I had not heard of this community before this year and look forward to reading more about it and these sisters. We will have to swing west next time we head home to visit family in North Country NY. It will be a side trip of a few days, but it sounds like it will be worth it. I have won this book on another site, but have not yet received it. I hope it comes soon, it sounds like a good read. librarypat AT comcast DOT net

  28. I love the premise of Captivity! Thank you for hosting this giveaway.+2 posted this giveaway on my FB http://www.facebook.com/#!/?ref=homeThank you for hosting this giveaway.terrymac1a at hotmail dot com

  29. Anita Yancey is the winner, if she doesn't respond to my email, Nicoklay was the next one in the randomizer.Thanks for entering!

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