priest-maplecroftMaplecroft by Cherie Priest

Priest takes the epistolary format H.P. Lovecraft was fond of and uses it to far better effect, both in terms of characterization and horror. Her protagonists (Lizzie, her sister, her lover Nance O’Neil and the friendly Dr. Seabury) are extremely well drawn even as the nerve and mind-shredding events of 1895 drive them apart. Priest skillfully makes the menace around them specific and concrete while also remaining shadowy and unknowable, achieving maximum impact. Putting real historical characters in genre settings is an idea that’s seemed tired for a while, but this novel shows how compelling it can still be in the right hands. — RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars