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Reviewed by ALEX NDIRANGU for Readers' Favorite
In The Curious Spell of Madam Genova, J.G. Schwartz takes us back to the grim years of the Great Depression in the late 1920s. During these awful times, the wealthy consult clairvoyants because they are unsure of their future. Dolores James, a rich individual, looks for a clairvoyant who will bless two expensive pocket watches that she possesses. She searches for Madam Genova, a well-known local fortune teller, who casts a spell on the two watches. Sadly, the charm backfires, and the good fortune turns into something less pleasant. Fate connects the two pocket watches, and until 2008, they functioned as identical, searching for their proper owners. Throughout the 20th century, their owners, who have included politicians, astrologers, presidents, and actresses, have enjoyed remarkable good fortune. But if the owners lose or misplace the watches, something terrible will unavoidably happen.
J.G. Schwartz created a great paranormal thriller about how magic from clairvoyants changed people's lives by paying close attention to real historical figures and adding a lot of fantasy. She uses the present tense throughout the narration. This method of writing gave the text an amazing sense of immediacy. Personally, having a real-time update of every action and subsequent reaction in the book made it easier for me to understand how the plot developed. I especially appreciated how Schwartz recalled minor situations. From Madam Genova chanting over the watches to Dolores fastening the top of the box that houses the watches, and all the wonderful magic that makes the text's fictional premise feel plausible, I could easily build a world full of imagination that I didn't want to leave. The most unusual part of The Curious Spell of Madam Genova that I enjoyed was its characterization. Schwartz's cast comprised people from many walks of life who either directly or indirectly inspired amazing triumphs and will be remembered for the rest of human history. There was nothing I didn't like about this book, and I would like to read more by J.G. Schwartz.