Manroot by Anne Steinberg
Posted by brriske
Manroot is the evocative and stirring story of a lonely town in Missouri, and a young woman named Katherine who discovers a mystical side to herself that she’d never known existed. Anne Steinberg weaves together fantasy, romance, and a young girl’s coming of age into a darkly magical story.
In the spring of 1939, Katherine Sheahan and her father, Jesse, are looking for work in the isolated tourist town of Castlewood. Jesse gets a job as handyman and Katherine as a maid at a small hotel. Jesse drinks and neglects his work and eventually disappears, abandoning his daughter. Frieda Broom, the hotel Manager, takes Katherine under her wing, and teaches her about ginseng, the manroot, and other secrets of the foothills. Katherine discovers that she is a natural healer and has the ability to communicate with spirits, a gift she inherited from her Navajo Indian mother.
Among the hotels regular clientele is Judge William Reardon. Escaping his sterile marriage, he becomes captivated by Katherine. As the pair bond over astrology and gardening, Katherine becomes convinced they belong together, despite him being much older than her and married. As they begin to fall in love, the violence of dark magic threatens to annihilate all Katherine knows and holds dear. Can their love survive?
Manroot is a potent tale of destiny, spiritualism and love, written in Anne Steinberg’s signature compelling style. The kindle version was published March 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Manroot-Anne-Steinberg-ebook/dp/B00J1BPZJA
We are introduced to a young Katherine and her drunkard of a father as they travel in Missouri looking for work. Katherine is part Native American and she has all the magical mystery that race is known for. She is always remembering her grandmother and her teachings on nature, things to fear and second sight.
Katherine meets the Judge and she feels mystically pulled to him, via actual items she finds of his that she keeps in a box, like talisman. Their affair ends when the box is lost.
Katherine is brutally raped after her breakup, which causes her to run to the woods to live. Her tryst with the Judge resulted in a pregnancy, though. She ends up in a cabin in the woods, away from everyone excepts for the Judge, his wife and caretakers. When her twins are born the book starts to imply magic, but so subtly, it is confusing. There are gypsies to read the future, premonitions via dreams, visitations, strange transferences using animal hosts and death. Who died and what exactly did Katherine do, is a mystery until the very end and even then it is confusing.
The characters of the Judge and Elizabeth were characters I did not care about. Both were selfish and really never did right by Katherine. Katherine never wavers throughout the whole book and is perpetually the same. This is disconcerting as the story takes place over such a long period of time and things just naturally change over time. At times the early part of the book and the later part seem as if they were 2 separate stories.
This book is for an adult audience due to instances of rape and incest.
I’m giving this book 3 fangs.
goodreads – Manroot – https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit/6034332
amazon – Manroot – http://www.amazon.com/review/R14YT3U8C6RID2
“Manroot is an undeniably good read; it’s well-written with a compelling plot and memorable characters. Recommended to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction imbued with fantasy, including Native American themes and the supernatural.”
“Words to describe this book are: romantic, thrilling, memorable, spiritual, magical, and well written in a breath taking way that will keep you enthralled well after it is over. I wish it would have lasted longer and was saddened when it came to an end. 5 stars and cannot wait to see what Anne Steinberg comes up with next!”
About the Author:
While living in England, Anne Steinberg’s first novel, Manroot was published by Headline Review in London. Manroot was heralded as an important first novel in 1994 and included in the Headline Review’s prestigious “Fiction without Frontiers,” a new wave of contemporary fiction that knows no limits. Eight modern storytellers were featured: Anne Steinberg, Margaret Atwood, Iain Banks, William Gibson, Peter Hoeg, Roddy Doyle, and E. Annie Proulx. It was an auspicious beginning to a long and varied career for Anne Steinberg, who went on to write several acclaimed novels, Every Town Needs A Russian Tea Room, the story of a wealthy socialite who falls in love with a penniless young Russian immigrant who is haunted by a bizarre shameful secret, The Cuckoos Gift, First Hands, and An Eye For An Ear. She is also coauthor of The Fence, written with her grandson Nicholas Reuel Tolkien, the great grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. Nicholas is a filmmaker, director, and published poet. The Fence is a chilling story of a magnificent Gothic fence forged by a despicable blacksmith and infused with evil.
Anne was a partner in the world famous vintage clothing store, Steinberg & Tolkien, on Kings Road in Chelsea. After a successful run for over 20 years, the shop closed, and she returned to the US. Approaching her eighty-second birthday, she now writes, reads, and studies antiques, American Indian history, animal welfare, mythology, and folklore legends.
Anne recently re-released Manroot in kindle format. It was published March 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Manroot-Anne-Steinberg-ebook/dp/B00J1BPZJA
Connect with Anne on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ANSteinberg
Previously published novels include:
Every Town Needs a Russian Tea Room:
The Cuckoo’s Gift: