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The Book of Shadows
by James Reese

Category: Fiction / Horror
623 pages; ISBN: 0061031844

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


In France, six year old Herculine watches her mother die a horrible weird death leaving the child to fend for herself. Herculine arrives at the “stone”, the holy house at C--- where the nuns take her in as the only scholarship student praying she one day will see God like they do. Years later, unable to resist, Herculine commits sins that require severe punishment as fears of evil and witchcraft are whispered among the residents of C----.

While being incarcerated, four demons visit Herculine. The demon priest Father Louis, the damned Madeleine, the demonic Asmodei, and the evil witch Sebastiana come to open her mind to the full realm of pleasure. Herculine escapes with her rescuers to set on a quest to learn why she is the chosen. Her mission is filled with erotic dark magic and death as a revolution fueled by otherworldly madness leads to mass insanity and murder.

Though well written in a weird meandering way filled with surprising shockers, BOOK OF SHADOWS is not for everyone as the story line contains graphic scenes of cruelty, abuse, and terror. The story line takes the traditional elements of a gothic novel (innocent vulnerable female, dark menacing males and a remote foreboding abode), but turns them upside down with a spin away from the genre due to the self-discovery of the dark side by the heroine. Herculine, who narrates the tale, keeps the center from imploding into a sea of uncontrollable weirdness so that the audience has an entertaining yet strange historical horror novel.

Harriet Klausner


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