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Inamorata

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  489 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Inspired by real-life events, this chilling and atmospheric debut novel marks the arrival of a young writer with tremendous promise. It is the 1920s, and Spiritualism is all the rage. With seances taking place in parlors across the country and Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arguing metaphysics in the papers, the media embraces the feverish obsession with the para ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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Djrmel
Mar 03, 2009 Djrmel rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's funny but not fluffy, smart but not academic, and full of interesting characters and details. A slightly geeky but very endearing grad student gets involved with a project to disprove the talents of various psychics in the 1920s. The story centers around his part in the investigation of a young and pretty medium who he thinks might be in danger, but from what, he doesn't know. He attempts to become the romantic hero of her complicated life, even though he knows she may b ...more
Bethany
Oct 18, 2009 Bethany rated it really liked it
Ok, don't judge a book by it's price- I found this on a sale table at Books Inc. and thought, 'Ok, for five bucks I'll bite-' the subject matter was just a little unbelievable for me, I didn't think I'd be able to suspend disbelief enough that I would have bought the book for full price. Then I got home and started to read- and flew through it! I needed to read something well written but not too self-serious- this fit the bill. The characters are interesting and the topic- Spiritualism in the 19 ...more
Wayland Smith
Mar 30, 2017 Wayland Smith rated it liked it
In the 1920's, Spiritualism was a huge interest of much of the public. The magazine Scientific American is offering a $5,000 prize to anyone who can prove they have supernatural powers and/or can contact the dead. Martin Finch, a student at Harvard, gets drafted into the judging of the competition.

Set in Prohibition-era Philadelphia, this is a tale of mysticism, belief, strange happenings, and love. Is society woman Mina an actual psychic? Is she faking it all, or maybe mentally ill? Is her husb
...more
Almira
Jun 19, 2013 Almira rated it liked it
It wasn't exactly 'love' - this thing I felt for this book, because as Gangemi said, and I quote, "love was more symphonic feeling... not this anxious chamber piece playing in my inner ear at all hours of the day and night".

Ha ha, that wasn't very good introduction, but anyway, let's carry on.

I consider this book a science fiction. It is based on psychology and solving mysteries behind unexplained happenings, like what we normal people refer to as 'Magic'. Now I'll skip the first few pages of th
...more
Mary
Jul 16, 2009 Mary rated it it was ok
Fun book that can be read in an afternoon, but the jacket blurbs about the author being in the same vein as Caleb Carr's the Alienist or EL Doctrow's Ragtime are overblown. I think what separates this book from the Alienist (and I've noticed the same thing in a lot of other historically inspired fiction) is that Carr is both a historian and a writer, so he doesn't let the historical facts and elements get in the way of the narrative or characters. Whereas in this book (and some others I've read, ...more
Zen
Feb 12, 2013 Zen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
My gosh, I loved reading this. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from it, as it had been sitting on my shelf for years without being given a second glance. (I'm sorry I overlooked you for so long, Inamorata! Just because you were the randomly-selected third book in a 3-for-$10 deal, doesn't mean you aren't worthy of attention! In fact, I don't even remember what the other two books were.)

The 1920s have always seemed like an extremely cool decade to me, at least through the lens of Ameri
...more
Jess
Dec 07, 2014 Jess rated it really liked it
I can't wrap my head around the probable "solutions" to all of the unanswered questions within this book, and I can't for the life of me determine if that's the way Joseph Gangemi intended it or not. Or is this questioning truly what he intended all along? I do feel very much like Finch, trying to debunk his story. So meta. Either way, an entertaining read. I do wish it was a bit, well, scarier, but I guess that wasn't the point of the novel. Undoubtedly my favorite thing about Inamorata was its ...more
Hope Morgan
Jan 26, 2017 Hope Morgan rated it really liked it
Pretty entertaining read, did get a bit confusing in some parts...wasn't sure about the ending.
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
There is another book, Gabriel Brownstein's "The Man From Beyond", which also looks at Margery, a medium discovered by Arthur Conan Doyle. Margery was actually one Mina Crandon in real life, and Conan-Doyle would sing her praises to anyone who would listen. Also in real life, a team of investigators from Scientific American (which had offered a $5000 prize to anyone who could produce some psychic phenonmena "$2,500 to the first person who produces a psychic photograph under its test conditions" ...more
Shelby Lee
Jul 11, 2015 Shelby Lee rated it liked it
One thing I recently learned (recently meaning in the last 30 seconds) is that in 2006 Johnny Depp bought the rights to make this book into a movie. And since I am and will always be a staunch supporter of anything Johnny Depp, that makes me look slightly more favorably at this book. Slightly.

The weird thing about this book is that the medium who it revolves around is based off of a real woman, a woman who is so completely different from her fictional counterpart in Inamorata as to be unrecogniz
...more
LJ
INAMORATA – G+
Joseph Gangemi – 1st book (Historical)
In 1922, Scientific American offers five thousand dollars for evidence of "conclusive psychic manifestations." Inspired by this real-life event, Inamorata follows Martin Finch, a twenty-three-year-old Harvard graduate student and member of Scientific American’s investigative committee, on the case of a lifetime—an attempt to determine whether Mina Crawley, a beautiful Philadelphia socialite, is able to contact the spirit realm. In the tiny upst
...more
Sarah
Mar 16, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book is set in the 1920's, during the peak of the Spiritualism movement. It is upon this backdrop that Harvard graduate, Martin Finch, gets the unexpected opportunity to assist in the Scientific American investigation into the psychic powers of self-proclaimed mediums and Spiritulists. At first he rises to the challenge and exposes several fraudulent "psychics" using logic and scientific reasoning. However, the investigation into the paranormal powers of "society psychic" Mina Crawley prese ...more
Oceana2602
Jul 14, 2007 Oceana2602 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
How much did I love this book? I bought it because it looked pretty (black cover with green bird), and the description sounded interesting, but from the first moment on I was hooked. The story is simple:"It is the 1920s, and Spiritualism is all the rage. Twenty-three-year old Harvard graduate Martin Finch is sent by the Scientific American on the investigative opportunity of a lifetime: an examination of the powers of Philadelphia "society psychic" Mina Crawley."

What a great story! And great wri
...more
Al
Dec 01, 2011 Al rated it liked it
This quick and fast-paced book is filled with romance, the 1920s and spiritualism. This takes place during the same time period as Dreamland, and the two briefly overlap in subject matter, although this book focuses on the upper/academic crowd and is therefore lighter in nature and can focus more intently on the supernatural rather than the struggles of the all too natural life.

The main character is part of a team sent out to prove or disprove the existence of spirits and mediums, and he finds b
...more
Kirsten
Mar 15, 2008 Kirsten rated it liked it
This novel started out strong but ultimately left me a bit cold. Martin Finch, a young grad student at Harvard, assists his mentor and others in testing psychics and mediums for "Scientific American." The first few are easily debunked, but then they meet Mina Crawley, whose alleged ability to manifest the spirit of her dead brother is less easily shown to be fraud. Martin is attracted to Mina in spite of himself, even as he discovers an increasingly complex web of deceit surrounding Mina and her ...more
Jen
Apr 12, 2007 Jen rated it it was amazing
I love-love-loved this book! First of all, it takes place in Philadelphia in the 1920s, which is just a great setting. This book had me in a complete trance. I was totally obsessed with it and would open it up to read the second I got home from work, the moment I woke up on weekend, I'd be thinking about it whenever I wasn't reading it...it even crept into my dreams! It was one of those books where the minute you finish reading it, you just want to flip back to page one and start all over again. ...more
Sara
Feb 24, 2010 Sara rated it it was ok
An interesting concept is restrained by poorly-developed characters and unpolished writing. Attempting to use the first person challenges many authors, and Gangemi is no exception: the protagonist Finch is as indistinct at the end of the book as he is at the beginning. Additionally, the limitations of the perspective are often ignored as the author uses the protagonist to present the reader with historical fact-dumps about which Finch would have been unaware or indifferent.

Still, a fast, mildly
...more
Tiffany
Dec 07, 2010 Tiffany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Adding an ambiguous ending to an otherwise cookie-cutter genre piece does not make it high art. Like at the end of The Cutting Edge we're supposed to believe that it doesn't matter if they win or lose, it's that they fell in love and skated their best! I'm sorry, but have you seen the rest of the movie?

Of course Inamorata is no The Cutting Edge and its ambiguous ending feels even more out of place and disappointing. I wade through a lot of hint dropping, wooden dialogue and one-dimensional char
...more
Tamara Eaker
Jan 03, 2014 Tamara Eaker rated it really liked it
Supernatural phenomena, Romance, mystery, death, and spiritualism. This book by Joseph Gangemi was a fun read. From the point of view of a struggling Harvard student we get to explore the worlds reaction to the super normal. The characters in this novel were fun to get to know, if they were at the least, fairly flat. The ending left me in wanting, I feel that there was a lot that could have been said for mina's child, but I feel that the author did a good job of answering any questions in the ep ...more
Nicole
Sep 24, 2007 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't the best read ever...but it was a good first novel for the author. I love historical fiction, and this didn't dissapoint from that standpoint.

The writing is very intellectual - lots of fifty cent words, which is fitting since it's written in first person from the perspective of a Harvard doctoral candidate.

A bit of fun reading...if you like mystery and a bit of the paranormal. It delves into the Spiritualist movement in the 1920s that was so popular with every house holding seances.

T
...more
Kate
Nov 22, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plus-11-in-11
Read this novel set in the 1920's during Prohibition about the rise of Spiritualism in some of the nation's most famous universities. It follows the story of a Harvard graduate student working on a committee trying to find/debunk reports of paranormal activity. The characters could have been better established and had differant names (3 of the main characters were Finch, Flynn and Fox), but it was an easy read and an interesting description of the time period where a lot of drinking went on, des ...more
Gina
Jun 22, 2013 Gina rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It was light and amusing with the allure of a historical novel. It had some science fiction as well but it was also a romance novel. It took place in 1920s Philadelphia at a time when many people were interested in the paranormal and just as many were interested in disproving them. This book centers around a group that set out to do just that.
It is a nice first novel but I found it start to go adrift towards the end. A good summertime, light read.
Karen
Mar 03, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
USA(setting)-An investigation into the powers of a 1920's Philadelphia "society psychic." Inamorata is part mystery, historical fiction and love story. It illuminates the 1920's feverish obsession with the paranormal. I found this book on the sale table at our book store here in canada. Inamorata provided some good vocab expansion, I liked the historic setting and it gave a good bit of info on several topics. I sure got my moneys worth for a little $4.99 book.
Elle
Jun 21, 2013 Elle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ciertamente creí que sería otra cosa. Me intrigó al principio, pero luego la trama se me hizo demasiado cansina y lo terminé por eso de no dejar un libro a medias.

Nunca llegué a comprender del todo a los personajes, tampoco supe al final cuál fue el resultado, si era real o fingido. SUPONGO que el escritor tuvo la intención de que el lector "sacara sus propias conclusiones", a las que yo, por desgracia, nunca llegué.

No lo recomiendo a menos que tengan deseos de aburrirse.
Rayda
Nov 20, 2013 Rayda rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! The writing flowed and the subject intrigued me. It was such wonderful prose and I read it in 2 days! I just could not put it down! I am now reading other books on mesmerism and spiritualism. It is a great way to start the study of both. I like to read a fiction book on subjects and then read the history of it. This book definitely got me interested. The ending was sad though, but necessary. Not every story has a rosy ending. One question, if not Walter, who was that???
Michelle Blackburn
Mar 21, 2012 Michelle Blackburn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I was impressed with Gagemi's debut novel, Inamorata. He is able to instill suspense, humor, and history into each chapter. Not to mention the book is witty and to-the-point. If you are looking for a book with intricate description of setting and characters this is not the book for you. Gangemi does a fantastic job of fitting important details, one after the other, without much extra. I'm a fan of scary movies, and I think that Hollywood should consider this book as its next Blockbuster!
Kendra
Apr 21, 2007 Kendra rated it really liked it
I read this book during my hyper-reading phase and I really really enjoyed it. It's an unusal story about the protege of a renowned ivy league professor who sets off for Philadelphia to disprove claims by a wealthy young socialite that she is a medium. Enjoyable peek into the spiritualist movement of the early 20th century.
Cindy Steinberg
Oct 16, 2012 Cindy Steinberg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books
This is a story about 1920 Philadelphia and the strange world of physhic phenomenon,complete with regularly held seances.Elegantly written with strong characters that make the story flow and keeps you guessing right up to the end. The novel takes place in Philadelphia which was exciting for me as I am very familar with the area and all the landmarks mentioned.I give this book 5 stars.
Hannah Givens
A gripping story for most of the novel, with a powerful atmosphere and a well-constructed tension between mysticism and skepticism. Is Mina really summoning spirits, or is it a hoax? Unfortunately, the ending is completely unsatisfying. NO questions were answered and ruins the whole thing to just end it with no closure!
Abbey
Apr 24, 2015 Abbey rated it it was amazing
After reading this book I spent much time reflecting upon it, thinking why and how what occurred may have happened. It moved at a good pace and was written with clever and insightful use of language. My only dislike is that some of the characters were not fully formed in description but on all accounts an enjoyable read.
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