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The Visionist (2014)

by Rachel Urquhart(Favorite Author)
3.52 of 5 Votes: 2
0316228117 (ISBN13: 9780316228114)
Little, Brown and Company
review 1: I did not appreciate the author's over-the-top writing style, nor the villainous way she portrays the Shakers. Since I do know a bit about this sect, I was excited to read a novel about them, but should have known better than to think that they somehow wouldn't come out being the crazy weirdos of the story. Still, this was compelling enough to make me keep reading, despite my constant state of incredulousness.
review 2: Urquhart has chosen a unique setting: rural Massachusetts in the 1840s, with much of the story playing out in a Shaker village. She does a great job of conveying that unique culture -- warts and attractions alike. She employs an interesting stylistic gimmick. All but one of the characters speak in the first person. The one who doesn't (she'
... mores presented in 3rd person) is the main character, a refugee from a creepily dysfunctional family. I assume this technique was to underscore her inscrutability? I would have given the book a 5, but was disappointed in the character Charity, who -- I thought -- needed a bit more development. Her motives/ actions didn't always make sense, at least to me. One of the most interesting characters is an arson investigator with a complicated, corrupted past, but a good heart and a first-class mind. Altho' this is not a who-dunnit, Simon's sleuthing as he sifts through the ashes of a burned farm is fascinating. A good read indeed. less
Reviews (see all)
Not a book of my choosing. Read it for a book club. I found the Shaker religion to be a harsh one.
This book should have been everything perfect for me, but it somehow didn't quite get there.
Not a great story, but interesting details (or imagined) of Shaker life.
I learned about the Shakers - fascinating. Good mystery, also.
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