Sepulchre by Kate Moss - Book Review

Slipping between modern France and 1891 France, Sepulchre tells the gothic-like stories of two strong women. In 1891, Léonie travels with her brother from Paris to the family estate in Rennes-les-Bains. The beauty of the French countryside conjures feelings of hidden spirits and secrets. Youthful and naïve, Léonie searches for the occult associated with the locale all the while unaware of a greater threat.

In modern day Rennes-les-Bains, researcher Meredith is seeking facts for her book on Debussy, but hides a secret yearning to find her own ancestors. She too underestimates a looming collision with evil. Both women will invoke spirits and reveal secrets with the assistance of a deck of Tarot cards. A devil will come forth, loved ones will die and two parallel mysteries will unfold. Sounds like all the makings of a great story.

The problem is that too much cliché and over-thought bog down the story itself. Instead of being atmospheric, it's labored. The characters remain toneless and the plot evolves too easily. The attempts at including the fantastical seem ungainly. The sometimes translated, sometimes not, French gets annoying (either translate or not!).

I have to admit that I wanted to know what happened, but I skipped chunks of descriptive verbiage to get there. What was a great idea got bogged down to the point of ruining the tale. “Brevity is the soul of wit” was lost on this one.

Read from an advanced copy. On sale in USA: April 1, 2008. Available in UK.
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