Friday, June 15, 2007

Madame Zee by Pearl Luke

Completion Date: June 15, 2007
Pages: 400
Publication Year: 2007
Purchased in 2007
From early childhood, Mabel Rowbotham knows that she is different. She is struck by visions and premonitions that disturb her dreams, haunt her waking hours and stay with her long after she emigrates from England to Canada. Although desperate to understand these powerful episodes, Mabel hides her gift behind a facade of normalcy.

But Mabel is not destined to be normal. Her quest for understanding leads her to the Brother, XII—founder of one of Canada’s most infamous Utopian colonies. Here, Mabel fully transforms into the complicated and enigmatic figure of Madame Zee and ultimately finds an explanation for the mysterious knowledge that has shaped her life.

A popular reading group choice, Pearl Luke’s acclaimed and sensitive re-imagining of this enigmatic figure was a Flare and Chatelaine book-club pick. It now includes a fascinating P.S. section with information about the real Madame Zee.

I bought this book on a whim earlier this month and I am very glad that I did. It takes place in England, Canada, the US, and at the very end she is in Mexico. This novel is about a British girl named Mabel. The novel starts when she is seven years old ands when she is an older woman living in Mexico. The book is relatively short, so Luke decides which events in her life deserve page time, her whole life is not covered. The best thing is that there really was a Madame Zee, so that made reading about her life all that more interesting. In the P.S. section of the book I have, who the real woman was is explored.

When she is a child she tells her ten-year-old sister that she can see pictures in her mind during the day, and it is her sister that tells her she is only day-dreaming. Honora dies early in the novel, but her presence remains throughout the novel. After her sister dies, it is a few years before she starts having her visions again. She is not sure what to do about it, though. She tries to tell her mother that she is having visions, but her mother looks scared by it all. Especially when something that she predicted would happen happened to her mother.

This novel covers Mabel's transformation from the young British woman to Madame Zee. The person that comes to terms with her visions, who can be an independant woman without feeling guilty about it, and has the life that she has always dreamed of. Secrets from her past come back to be revealed in her future. I really liked this book. I had not really heard anything about it when I bought it, so I am really glad that I picked it up the other day. A very recommended read!


  1. This sounds amazing - another book for my list! Thanks for the review --

  2. Your welcome! It was a very good read!

  3. This is one I'd like to read also. But what is weird about it is that I saw two other books which were released at the same time as this hardcover, using the same stock image on the cover! How confusing is that?

  4. That is really confusing! I saw a post about that the other day, how people are copying book covers of other authors and apparently getting away with very minor changes.

  5. I've never heard of this book, but it sounds wonderful. I'll be adding it to my wishlist!

    Speaking of identical cover images, I saw a copy of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters with the hands holding an apple photo that graces the cover of Stephanie Meyers's Twilight. I had to do a double take on that one!


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