by Erika Swyler
What would you do if you learned about a family secret so dangerous, that it threatened the one person you were supposed to take care of? Simon Watson a librarian about to lose his job, is living in his family's crumbling house that is on the brink of crashing into Long Island Sound. Haunted by his mother's suicide, he is overwhelmed and directionless when he receives a mysterious book in the mail. In it he finds the name of his grandmother, eerie sketches of tarot cards, and a story of doomed lovers from 200 years before.
It is more than a professional interest in things from the past that captures Simon’s attention. The subject matter of the book is intricately connected to his own family history – a past filled with carnies, odd talents, psychics, and curses. With the help of his friend Alice, Simon digs deeper to find the answers he needs, and ultimately, to leave the past behind.
If you like the tone and style of The Book of Speculation, you might also want to try Alice Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a historical fiction that delves deep into a seedy underworld involving human oddities on display in a Coney Island freak show. You can read the VBPL Recommends review blog here.
Review by Rebekah K.