If you’ve loved our September Book of the Month feature on The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler, then we have a treat for you today … more from Sonia! For today’s post, we want to share more about her first novel, The Revenant, and offer up some additional book suggestions if you just can’t get enough about these subjects!
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn’t belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.
Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie’s room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.
Willie doesn’t believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn’t sure anymore. She’s also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys’ school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .
The Revenant was actually our July 2011 Book of the Month, and we had some fantastic features to tie-in with it! Here are some of the highlights:
- Elements of the Ghost Story & Gothic Novel
- Spotlight with VLC Productions on The Revenant Book Trailer
- Q&A with The Revenant author Sonia Gensler: Part 1
- Q&A with The Revenant author Sonia Gensler: Part 2
- Q&A with The Revenant author Sonia Gensler: Part 3 (Flash Questions)
- The Revenant author Sonia Gensler’s Guest Blog: “Why Ghosts?”
- The Revenant Desktop Wallpapers
- The Revenant History Lessons: The Spiritualism Movement
- The Revenant History Lessons: Cherokee Seminary Schools
- The Revenant History Lessons: The Trail of Tears
- The Revenant History Lessons: Cherokee Heritage
- Literary Connections: The Revenant & Shakespeare’s As You Like It
- The Revenant Essay & Project Ideas
- Paranormal/Historical YA Reading List
- Sonia Gensler’s Reading List
More Recommended Reading
Want more about the spiritualism movement, or spooky historical fiction? Check out these picks:
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown
Jennie’s connection with her twin brother, Toby, grew stronger after he died in 1864. Now Jennie must rely on her ability to communicate with the dead to find out what has happened to her beloved fiance, Will, while he was off at war. The army says he died honorably in battle. His brother confides that he became a violent criminal and died in a prison camp. Jennie begins to doubt that anyone is telling her the truth.
This intriguing combination of historical romance, paranormal thriller, and clever mystery is illustrated by bestselling artist Lisa Brown. The unique visuals originated from real Civil War daguerreotypes that were transformed into eerie mementos for Jennie’s scrapbook.
With the help of a spiritualist photographer, the spirit of her dead fiance, and the clues she discovers and keeps in her scrapbook, Jennie must put together the pieces of this mystery before she loses her home, her fortune, and possibly her life.
We Hear the Dead by Diane K. Salerni
It started out as a harmless prank. But soon enough, spiritualism was the fastest growing movement of the nineteenth century, and Maggie Fox was trapped in a life of deceit.
Meticulously researched by the author, We Hear the Dead reveals the secret of how the Fox sisters faked their rapping sounds and their motives for inventing the séance and founding spiritualism.
I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. No one suspected us of any trick, because we were such young children. We were led on by my sister purposely and by my mother unintentionally. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. As Doctor wrote to me: “Weary, weary is the life by cold deceit oppressed.”
My sister has used the word “deception.” I object to her use of that word, for I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of all the events that have happened since that night in Hydesville forty years ago. To her the spirits were always a game. For my sister Leah, they were a means to an end. For my mother, a miracle. And for me, they were my life’s calling. I have no regrets.
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
For the comments: Got any other books to add to this list? Share ’em in the comments below!