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By Blood Possessed    by Elena Santangelo order for
By Blood Possessed
by Elena Santangelo
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2001 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

There's a new kid on the block - and welcomed by me. By Blood Possessed is Elena Santangelo's first published novel and a very strong start. Pat Montella is summoned to Virginia by Magnolia (Maggie) Shelby, a ninety-one year old retired history teacher. Maggie wants to leave her historic house and valuable property to Pat, whom she has never met. When Pat visits Maggie at Bell Run, she discovers in herself a propensity to travel to the past, specifically to the time of the Civil War. A mystery is woven into each segment of time and the exciting ending of the novel solves both of them. It reveals how the actions of our forebears can carry consequences into our own lives more than a century later.

The past twists around the present in this fine tale, with no confusion in the transition. The story is crisp and well researched. Its characters are real and believable. I'd like to know Maggie; as I approach old age, I especially enjoy reading of active, viable senior citizens who have their wits about them. The author's protagonist, Pat, has been imbued with a wonderful tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that the reader can appreciate. She also shares mouth-watering Italian recipes and makes putting together a meal seem effortless. By Blood Possessed is a novel you'll want to keep on your shelves, to take down and absorb again. I've read it three times so far, and enjoyed each one.

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