• Fascinating historical information of the religious climate in early U.S. and Canada
  • Well-written
  • Strong protaganist


  • Sometimes depressing
  • Not given the credit it deserves

Full Review

Pearl Luke lures you into the dreamy, innocent world of Edith Mabel Rowbotham only to take your breath away as tragedy strikes – a fine beginning to what will be a tragic tale based on the true events surrounding the early days of Spiritualism in Canada and the cult of Brother, XII of DeCourcy Island.

As Mabel grows into her teenage years, her visions begin: an old man and a boy with a toboggan, her mother scalding herself with boiling water. Her clairvoyant episodes are worrying her family, and she turns to Spiritualism for answers. When her family decides to move to Canada, she quickly finds a teaching job and begins pursuing her gift further. When she begins receiving mail from the likes of the Theosophical Society and well-known American psychic Edgar Cayce, her character is brought into question by her peers and superiors. She moves on, finds another job, and another. She marries, and though it doesn't last long, she finds refuge with her father-in-law, a Spiritualist minister in Pensacola, Florida.

Through this connection, everything seems to fall into place quickly for Mabel. She meets like-minded individuals who help steer her along her path, and she changes her name to Zura Mabel Rowbotham, or Madame Zee for short. Attending conferences that fuel both her spiritual and sexual curiosity, Madame Zee finds herself in British Columbia, face to face with the Brother, XII.

Like all of the other members of "the colony," Zee is drawn to the Brother, or Bo for short. Eventually, they begin a fated affair as they lead the group into its demise. She begins to see Bo for the fraud he is, and Bo begins to slip further into the depths of his own delusion and madness.

Luke adeptly conveys the complexity of human relationships, the ease with which we can adapt and convince ourselves that what we're doing is right – even as our very core tells us that it's wrong. Madame Zee is a gripping novel that will leave you curious to know more about North America's spiritual past.

In Closing