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The Diviner's Tale

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,067 ratings  ·  227 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, Reprint edition , 325 pages
Published January 20th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2010)
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I am highly offended by terrible writing and I make no secret of that fact. This book does not have terrible writing; it is probably the best-written god-awful story I've ever read and in a way, that is even more offensive than a bad story poorly written.

I wish I were one of those amazing .gif-finding people because I suddenly, due to this book, completely understand the need to write a review in nothing but memes and gifs to properly express my emotions. Sadly, however, my technical skills are
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
Cassandra Brooks, a diviner by trade and a single mother of two boys, is hired to dowse the land for a developer in search of a water source. She finds much more than that as she sees a young girl hanging from a tree. She rushes to call the police and returns to show them the body only to find it has disappeared or been removed. Known for being an outcast because of her trade, it is speculated that she just had a weird vision. The police bring her back to revisit the scene when a girl, identical ...more
Wendy Darling
Dear authors:

I prefer books that consistently use quotation marks, break up long blocks of text, and allow me to get to know the main characters before spinning off into tangential anecdotes and history. Oh, and it'd be nice if we cared about the people who get killed off, too. Thanks!

To be fair I read the New York Times review of the book before I read the actual book so I can't say it was a disappointment. The review gave me ample warning. I really can't say it better than the New York Times; the book chooses what should be a fast paced can't put it down plot, mixed it with a rambling, descriptive narrative style. What it achieved is intense reader frustration. The writing style would have been intricate and vivid had I not wanted to know what the heck happened with a suppo ...more
Derby Jones
This was an enjoyable read, although with a few caveats. The heroine is one who persistently and illogically puts herself in harms way over and over again. She receives repeated threats, ands sees a strange man watching her house in the middle of the night, yet doesn't inform the chief of police, who also happens to be her best childhood friend. She rejects her psychic gifts at a time when she has the greatest need of them to protect herself and her family. She goes for a walk in the woods where ...more
Considering I think I got this one at Christmas for £1, I wouldn't say it was a waste of money, but it certainly wasn't the greatest read. It was billed as a mystery, but after the first couple of chapters, it really wasn't grabbing my attention well at all. The narrator's meandering story, the constant intrusion of anecdotes that may or may not be relevant but certainly don't feel it... I liked the idea, but the execution let it down, and the story had very little impact on me.

The little things
The Diviner's Tale-by Bradford Morrow

Let me first start off by saying, this review is unlike most of my reviews. It is more, for lack of better words, “mushy,” maybe. This is because, very rarely do I come across a book I read that I see a great future for. When I chose this book, a mystery-suspense novel, I thought that was exactly what I was going to get. Maybe a story about a woman who helps solves crimes or something with her psychic abilities, not exactly original material, but could be a
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
A lot of interesting and dramatic stuff happens in this book. Which is why it's amazing how incredibly boring it managed to be. I had to force myself through pretty much every page. The only characters I liked at all were the twins, as they felt the most like real people. I never related to Cass, who felt strangely withdrawn despite the story being told from her perspective. She felt more like a man than a woman too.

The book jumps around in time frequently. Although the different snatches of Cas
Colleen Turner
I received an advance copy of The Diviner's Tale from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Diviner's Tale is, quite simply, like nothing I have read before. It is part mystery, part thriller and part personal discovery. It seems impossible that a writer could combine the mystical and ordinary into one plausible plot, but somehow Bradford Morrow has.

Cassandra "Cass" Brooks is a part time teacher (a tradition following her mother) and a part time "diviner" (a tradition following her father and a long lin
Like the two-star rating indicates: It was an OK read. No more, no less.

In short, I was fascinated enough to want to read the story from cover to cover -- but too often the style and, well, "loose" storytelling annoyed me. I don't have a problem with stream-of-consciousness-like elements in a story, but they have to work seamlessly in a story; and that demand failed in this story. Now, don't get the wrong idea here -- I am not saying we have a stream-of-consciousness style á la Proust or Joyce,
A complex, intricate story told with such skill that it was a quick, engaging read. The prose was, at times, utterly beautiful. As a mystery, there wasn't ever really doubt as to who the bad guy was... but I think the bigger story (and the more poignant mystery) was what happened in Cassandra's past. I really enjoyed watching it all unfold.
I am a librarian, and my job is to catalog U.S. government publications. A year or two ago I cataloged a little pamphlet by the U.S. Geological Survey called Water Witching. This little book was published in 1966, and it was the Geological Survey's brief examination into the history and validity of the practice of using Y-shaped sticks and/or dowsing rods to locate hidden sources of ground water. The pamphlet was quaint, a glimpse back into the past, and it did declare that the practice of water ...more
Laura Lulu
I really enjoyed this. It's a paranormal suspense, which I have to say, I'm a fan. The main character, Cass, is psychic, but basically denies it her entire life. She calls it her "monster", and everyone in her life thinks she's a bit crazy and needs professional help. By the end, she starts to learn to accept herself and her gift, and to realize that "normal" ain't all it's cracked up to be. So it's kind of a coming of age story for a 36 year old. It's never too late, is it?

But what I liked mos
I'm a huge fan of Bradford Morrow's and I've been waiting for this book, The Diviners Tale, for a long time. Not only is it worth the wait, it's one of the best contemporary novels I've read in years.

When the novel opens the narrator, Cassandra Brooks, describes her first "forevision," a premonition of her brother's death. It got me hooked right away and set up story lines which enrich the book throughout: Cassandra's strong yet complicated relationships with her family; the unique gifts that m
Single sentence summary: Cassandra's family has always been dowsers and when searching for water on some property, she sees a young women hanging from a tree but when she returns to the spot with the police, the girl is no longer there.

I loved parts of this book and other times I had no idea where it was going. The first 70 percent of the novel felt like a meandering stream – beautiful at moments but without a set course. I kept hoping it was going somewhere and eventually it did...but it took
Frankly, this was a boring book. I thought the characters were flat and boring, and I never grew to care about any of them much. I also don't care for the author's writing style. Far from being a "Tale" it's mostly just a series of random and mostly meaningless flashbacks mixed with current events that weren't tied very closely together. I think the author depended too heavily on flashbacks to develop the characters, rather than letting their actions build their descriptions. I'm far from needin ...more
I finished the unproofed eGalley of The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow last night, having read it on my new Kindle over the course of a few days. Before I talk about the novel itself, let me just say that the experience of reading unproofed galleys on an eReader is just the slightest bit unwieldy. For starters, the formatting can be nonexistent in places, with paragraphs running into each other, lack of double spaces between paragraphs, and the like. Nothing too daunting, just...unwieldy. I d ...more
Single mom Cassandra Brooks comes from a long line of "diviners", or water dowsers, and her father has taught her the secrets of the craft. Some folks say she's a witch, and she has always felt like an outsider. One day while searching for a source of water on an about-to-be-developed farm, she comes upon the body of a young girl hanging by the neck from a tree. Horrified and saddened, she contacts the police, but when she leads them to the site, the body has disappeared. The Diviner's Tale is t ...more
Ana Mardoll
The Diviner's Tale / 978-0-547-38263-0

I'd not heard of Bradford Morrow before this book came available on Vine and NetGalley, but I will definitely have to check out his other novels after this exquisite tale. Equal parts an ambiguous tale of madness and magic (for we're never sure where the diviner's talents actually come from), a heart-warming tale of coming to terms with family disaster at all stages of life, and a terrifying tale of mystery and suspense, it's impossible to set down "The Divi
Renita D'Silva
Combining suspense with beautiful writing, this is a fast paced tale that kept me guessing. Liked Cassandra and the twins a lot. Was rooting for Cass all the way through. Interesting. Different. A good read.
I liked this book. It wasn't fantastic or one of my favorite reads but it was pretty good. I enjoyed the main characters, though Cass really needed to be more sure of herself. Jonah and Morgan were great and really added more depth to their mother's personality.
The greatest part of this book was the actual story and the (not really) mystery of it all. At first the mystery there and you find yourself wondering hmmm, what's going on here? However, as soon as Cass relives the times with her brothe
This book has a nice opening and overall promising premise, but the plot meanders all over the place. The pacing is consistently problematic, and there is no real tension or buildup that makes you want to finish the book. In fact, by the time I did reach the climax, it seemed a little forced and thrown in more as an afterthought.

The story centers around Cassandra, a diviner living in upstate New York with her twin boys. She comes from a long line of diviners and works part time dowsing land for
switterbug (Betsey)
Cassandra Brooks is a modern-day diviner, or dowser, living in upstate New York, the only woman in a long line of patriarchal diviners in her family. A dowser is someone who can sense a water source underneath layers of earth, (and sometimes minerals or other buried treasures), using a rudimentary Y-shaped rod or branch. This ancient art has not been embraced by the scientific community, and is often misunderstood as a pagan art. Cassandra's father, Nep, who is now declining from Alzheimer's, ha ...more
Fia Eamónn Wåhlin
Well, before I start reading something I usually know what kind if book it is, if its a classic I will read it otherwise I research it to se if it will suit me. So almost everything I read I love. Sometimes though I get a suggestion or something and I appreciate that to. But this book was not for me, if I had researched it on fore hand I probably wouldn't have read it. It was a mix of, mystery, drama and a hint of supernatural (that's what got me excited since I'm not a huge fan of the big comme ...more
Having meddled in the art of dowsing myself, I was naturally drawn to The Diviner's Tale. If you're looking for fast-paced or action-packed, you won't find it here. That being said, I enjoyed the story-line very much. Cassandra is our main character. She finds water for people by way of a practice handed down through her family from generation to generation. Divining, or dowsing, has been around for ages, but it seems it's a dying art. People who don't understand it think it's an old wives tale, ...more
Heidi Burleigh
There's no question that Bradford Morrow is a gifted writer. The opening line of "The Diviner's Tale," his new novel of suspense, is a model of elegance and economy; and much of what follows is on par, particularly in the first half of the book. His main character, Cassandra Brooks is an interesting woman (at least at first) with an interesting profession; the rural locale is rendered with style and atmosphere; and Morrow generates genuine tension as the dark plot thickens, so to speak. But some ...more
The Diviner's Tale is exactly as it says: a journey of self-discovery, uncovering the future through remembering the past. It's fiction, and somewhat emotionally weighty. I appreciate the touchingly honest approach it takes toward dementia in an aging parent, which was surprisingly hard to read.

Cass is both supernatural and utterly relatable, as a woman trying to make it through bad decisions, family secrets, and her own suspicion about her sanity. The storytelling birdwalks a bit between past a
I actually quite liked it. After the first few chapters, I wasn't so sure, but I carried on and am glad I did.

It's an interesting combination of murder mystery and meandering memoir and I totally didn't intend that alliteration but those are the best words. I can see how one might find it a frustrating read, but at the same time, clues and hints are uncovered at the same pace as they would with your traditional grubby private detective/cynical cop/cynical ex-cop/local genius protagonist. It's ju
I wish I could give this a higher rate; the premise is good, the idea is interesting and there's a lot of things that can be explored. Basically it should've been better but it's not. The author spent too much pages describing about anything else rather than the main story. I practically knows everything about Cassandra's life, even those that unrelated to the story at all (such as flower!). While on the other hand, the 'hanged' girl only explained briefly in few pages and Cassandra showed no in ...more

The Diviner’s Tale starts out immediately with a shock to the heart that makes it impossible to put down. The story has an air of despair, but really teaches about how to communicate past the sad and fear of life to discover one’s real self. The story takes a deeper twist that is heavier than the weight of death, containing elements of creepiness, and also hope for the beauty of life.

I loved, loved LOVED reading Cassandra’s story. Not only was it a mystery set in her present life, but an interes
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Bradford Morrow is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, editor, and author of children’s books. He grew up in Colorado and traveled extensively before settling in New York City and launching the renowned literary journal Conjunctions. His novel The Almanac Branch was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and for Trinity Fields, Morrow received the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ A ...more
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“Names are doors to ideas” 4 likes
“How often do we use other people as screens upon which to project our obsessions? Our discontents, dreams, desires, and fears? Well, I always thought, often enough that its a wonder the whole waking world isn't simply viewed as an endless improvised film. One with as many screenwriters, producers, and directors as there are actors” 4 likes
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