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Cassy Mae thought she left danger behind when she moved from the Santos Francisco slums to live in a small mountain town with her grandmother, only to learn her Grammy Jo worked magic which her mother had feared and hated. Docket's Diggings at first seemed a paradise -- until the strange, but rich, Lydia Markhem and her niece, Jamilla, moved to town, spreading a strange malaise around them. Cassy Mae spends her senior year trying to avoid her grandmother's magic and becoming Jamilla's special companion.
Descriptive economy is certainly a prevailing measure of fine short fiction and one that M K Theodoratus ably delivers against in Noticing Jamilla. A shadowy tale of witchcraft and darker dealings, she avoids the pitfalls of flat and prescriptive dialogue to reveal the emotional vulnerability of Cassy Mae and Grammy Jo, which in turn makes the revelations of her darker characters all the more poignant. The magical elements are not overstated which allows the reader the opportunity to decipher deeper meaning from Cassy Mae’s reluctance to accept magic, whilst the provincial setting encourages a sense of familiarity which belies the gathering darkness. It really is a very clever story, but the real weight comes from Cassy Mae’s disability, which remains evident throughout, clearly marking her as an outcast and provides an element of doubt as to which direction her gift will take her in.
With a compelling and satisfying story arc, short fiction fans of this popular genre will certainly find Noticing Jamilla an intriguing tale, whilst being left to wonder if there is not a longer novel in the near future. It is recommended without reservation.
Author M K Theodoratus - In The Spotlight
Noticing Jamilla - A Tale Of Andor
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