I don’t even know where to begin with my review of The Diviner’s Tale by Bradford Morrow. Despite never hearing the term Diviner before, after reading the book synopsis and the reviews I was extremely excited to read Morrow’s latest book. However, to say that I was disappointed in The Diviner’s Tale is an understatement.
Walking a lonely forested valley on a spring morning in upstate New York, having been hired by a developer to dowse the land, Cassandra Brooks comes upon the shocking vision of a young girl hanged from a tree. When she returns with authorities to the site, the body has vanished, leaving in question Cassandra’s credibility if not her sanity. The next day, on a return visit with the sheriff to have another look, a dazed, mute missing girl emerges from the woods, alive and the very picture of Cassandra’s hanged girl.
What follows is the narrative of ever-deepening and increasingly bizarre divinations that will lead this gifted young woman, the struggling single mother of twin boys, hurtling toward a past she’d long since thought was behind her. The Diviner’s Tale is at once a journey of self-discovery and an unorthodox murder mystery, a tale of the fantastic and a family chronicle told by an otherwise ordinary woman.
When Cassandra’s dark forebodings take on tangible form, she is forced to confront a life spiraling out of control. And soon she is locked in a mortal chess match with a real-life killer who has haunted her since before she can remember.
The Diviner’s Tale is a story about a loner named Cassandra (Cass) Brooks. Having learned her divining craft from her father, Nep, she practices it part time and is also a part time teacher. The town looks upon her as strange despite the fact that she’s proven her ability to divine over and over again. Alone with twin boys, the only people she has to rely on is her mom, Rosalie, her father, and her childhood friend, Niles.
As far as characters go I thought the characters in Morrow’s book were extremely likable. That is was probably one of the very few redeeming qualities of The Diviner’s Tale. It’s easy to sympathize with Cass, smile at the way the twins “take care” of their mom, find yourself endeared to Nep, etc. Also, the relationships between the characters were compelling.
So by now you’re probably saying to yourself…”Likeable characters, compelling relationships…that doesn’t sound like the makings of a disappointing book!” Well to be honest the ingredients for a great book were definitely there. Great characters – check. Relationships the reader can find themselves invested in – check. Interesting concept for a story – check. Unfortunately, the execution of the ingredients was done poorly.
The Diviner’s Tale is narrated by Cass, who often seems to get lost in overly wordy descriptions of her surroundings or past events. I was literally 60% of the way into the book (according to my Kindle), before I started to feel like it might be going somewhere. I just kept waiting for Morrow to weave his tale of mystery and intrigue, but it never happened. Instead it was incredibly boring and predictable. There was almost zero suspense and the end pretty much smacks the reader in the face with at least a 1/3 of the story left to go. Some might even be able to figure it out earlier.
I hate to say it, but I couldn’t wait to be done reading The Diviner’s Tale. If you’re looking for a book that is riddled with suspense and that will keep you guessing till the end, this is NOT the book for you. However, if you’ve gotten your hands on an advanced copy of Morrow’s book or decided to read it despite my review and enjoyed the book, I’d love to hear from you! Maybe I’m missing something. I’d love to hear another perspective The Diviner’s Tale if any of you have one!
Also reviewed by: Culture Mob, Good Choice Reading, Tiffany’s Bookshelf and Just One More Page or Two
It wasn’t just you. I found your review on GoodReads, specifically because I was wondering whether others had been as disappointed as I had been. My own review is here.
I’m presently listening to the audio book in my car – and finding the book to be a pretty good listen. I do find wordiness easier to listen to than to read. This is my first Morrow book – so I’m not comparing it to anything else.
I, too, listened to the audio version of the book, and while it was a bit slow-going in a few places, I would rank this book at least 4 out of 5 stars. The language was lovely, melodious, rich, the story compelling and heart-warming. The narrator was perhaps responsible for maintaining the mood of the story, her voice warm and pensive, searching and thoughtful. It’s a story well worth experiencing.