The Visitant by Megan Chance
I've read two other books (An Inconvenient Wife, which was interesting because of the diagnosis of "hysteria" in the 19th c, and The Spiritualist, which was less successful) by Chance. I admit to being fascinating by her topics, but have had difficulty liking any of her characters.
Although attracted by the idea of a ghost and the treatment of epilepsy in the 1800's, The Visitant was...offensive. Characters--this time I had no feeling of ambiguity. Elena annoyed me beyond reason. Almost everything she said or did was lacking in common sense or worse. Samuel and Nero were just as weirdly ineffective. None of the characters seemed appropriate to the time period, and although Chance tried to use the Victorian dichotomies of prudery/repression and science/mysticism to her advantage, she failed to make it work.
It is easily predictable from the first chapter, there are too many hints that are too obvious, and nothing "develops"-- everything feels either rushed or forced.
I'm not sure if the author was trying for a kind of insta-love romantic triangle or sordid soft-porn; both, I guess. The characters certainly deserved each other. While my feelings about the first two novels by Chance that I read were mixed, The Visitant made me want to wash my brain.
Read in June; Blog post scheduled for August 29.
NetGalley/Lake Union Publishing
Historical mystery/Supernatural. Sept. 22, 2015.