Review: The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow

Book: The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow
Published: January 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320 pages
Where I got it: e-book from NetGalley
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): Walking a lonely forested valley on a spring morning in upstate New York, having been hired by a developer to dowse the land, Cassandra Brooks comes upon the shocking vision of a young girl hanged from a tree. When she returns with authorities to the site, the body has vanished, leaving in question Cassandra’s credibility if not her sanity. The next day, on a return visit with the sheriff to have another look, a dazed, mute missing girl emerges from the woods, alive and the very picture of Cassandra’s hanged girl.
What follows is the narrative of ever-deepening and increasingly bizarre divinations that will lead this gifted young woman, the struggling single mother of twin boys, hurtling toward a past she’d long since thought was behind her. The Diviner’s Tale is at once a journey of self-discovery and an unorthodox murder mystery, a tale of the fantastic and a family chronicle told by an otherwise ordinary woman.
When Cassandra’s dark forebodings take on tangible form, she is forced to confront a life spiraling out of control. And soon she is locked in a mortal chess match with a real-life killer who has haunted her since before she can remember.

My thoughts: I have been trying to write my review of The Diviner's Tale for a few days now and have been having trouble figuring out what I want to say. Cassandra Brooks is a diviner- that is she dowses the local land in search of water and minerals. I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one and I never really knew what diviner's do until now. It was an interesting topic, although it took me awhile to get invested in the book. Once I did I was racing towards the end to find out what happened.

I think the mystery behind Cassandra's vision of the hanged girl should have drawn me in more from the beginning, but it wasn't until I got more details of Cass's past and the troubled Roy Skoler that I found myself truly engaged. It's unfortunate that it took so long for me to get into it because I think otherwise this would have been at least a 4 star book for me. I loved the relationship between Cass and her twin boys. There was a different dynamic between them than what you read of mother and sons in most books. I liked that they played things so cool most of the time and it was often like they were taking care of her more than she took care of them. Most boys at their age resent their parents but these two acted more like she was their sister in the way that they looked out for them. The relationship between she and her father, Nep, was also very touching. His struggle with Alzheimer's made me really sad and had me reflecting upon my relationship with my own father and grandfather.

When Cassandra sees the hanged girl and we find out that she used to see other things that had her questioning her sanity, the story gets much more interesting. There's that sense of mystery but also that character struggle in our protagonist as she tries to figure out more about herself and her abilities as a diviner. I thought that Laura's character was a little weird and there was a lot of buildup with her going missing a couple of times for somewhat of a disappointing resolution. I would have liked to see more development between Laura and Cassandra and less unnecessary love story between Cassandra and Charley. Overall I found The Diviner's Tale to be an enjoyable read filled with interesting relationships between family and friends with a little mystery wound in.

My rating: 3 stars

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