Literary Friday: The Diviner's Tale

Synopsis according to 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.

The Diviner's Tale is exactly as it says: a journey of self-discovery, uncovering the future through remembering the past. It's fiction, and somewhat emotionally weighty. I appreciate the touchingly honest approach it takes toward dementia in an aging parent, which was surprisingly hard to read.

Cass is both supernatural and utterly relatable, as a woman trying to make it through bad decisions, family secrets, and her own suspicion about her sanity. The storytelling birdwalks a bit between past and present, but the past is almost a cemented character in the story, so that seemed natural to me.

Overall, it was a good read (well, listen- I got this one via audiobook, and finished it in 2 days). The visuals are fantastical and beautiful, the character quirks awkwardly realistic. I was a twinge disappointed that there were no big surprises or reveals, but then, despite the mystery in the book it doesn't purport to be a novel of suspense or thrill. It's not a whodunit, it's a journey about finding closure and connecting with people.

And also, as frequently happens with female protagonists who have been victims of tragedy and/or's about trusting your instincts. Even if you think you're insane. And reaching out for help when you think you should.

I recommend it to fans of fiction, light suspense, family-issue-centric stories, magical realism and the supernatural, and female protagonists in their 30's (which, for me, is always nice to see....since my life didn't end with a Happily Ever After when I turned 21).

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