Monday, June 22, 2009




THE FORTUNE TELLER’S DAUGHTER is a suspense filled novel by Lila Shaara. She wrote this romantic thriller that is set in a small town filled with conspiracy and fascinating characters. The main character is a reporter who is down on his luck having lost his job, brother, marriage, and most importantly his self esteem. So Harry Sterling has taken a job as an instructor in a small college in northern Florida. Here he hopes to be able to reorganize his life and goals while making some kind of a connection with those he cares most about.


While being an instructor, Harry is also supposedly writing a book. The problem is he doesn’t have any idea what to write about. His first idea comes to him when he becomes involved in a mystery concerning a certain physicist who is famous for a discovery in electrical conductivity. This physicist, Charles Ziegart, seems to have perhaps stolen credit for something called the “Ziegart Effect” when in fact it may have been discovered by one of his students. This clue comes to Harry via a strange visit to a fortune teller.

Harry is drunk when he arrives at the home of a psychic named Josie Dupree. He doesn’t make a very good first impression as he throws up on Dupree’s front porch before she can even begin to tell him about his fortune and what some Tarot cards may mean. It also appears to be a bad sign and introduction to Josie’s niece Maggie Roth. Some think that Maggie is slow or even retarded and Harry has been warned to stay away from her. Yet Harry believes that Maggie has seen more in him than most and also knows more about this whole Ziegart mystery. And indeed Maggie has seen more in the case than she is willing to share. Ziegart and everyone else involved in this mystery after all, are all dead now.

As the Tarot cards try to explain to Harry, different things about his future and danger, none seem to make sense to him. Each chapter cleverly has an illustration of a certain Tarot card and short poem to introduce it. One is the card of Death and another has a picture of a tower struck by lightening. Others have odd names meaning nothing to Harry but Madame Dupree knows that some mean violence and dangers. It becomes Harry’s quest to find out the truth in this story.

As Harry looks into the story, he comes face to face with one odd or interesting character after another. Other than Madame Dupree and Maggie Roth, there is also Miss Baby Thorpe. But the most interesting to him is still Maggie who works as a cook in a diner and has suffered many terrible losses herself. Harry also finds some scandalous associations between the college and the mysterious boondocks and sinkholes of the northern Florida area he is in. It isn’t just by chance that this information has been a secret for years. With each new clue that Harry solves, comes an increase in danger to him and to those he cares about.

The story overall seems rather improbable and melodramatic to me, and yet something in it catches your attention just enough that it moves quickly once it gets past the slow starting beginning. The characters were likable enough to me even though some had too many annoying tendencies to want to spend much time with them. The sum of all the parts of the narrative elements makes the story an interesting one although astute readers most likely will figure out the mystery long before the end of the story.

Submitted Originally to Curled Up with a Good Book by Karen Haney, April, 2009


bermudaonion said...

Sounds like an interesting premise, but I think I'll skip it - there are too many other books out there calling my name.

ann marie said...

What a great review, I have added another book to my list. Have a great week. :)