Hide Me Among the Graves: A Novel
by Tim Powers
Review by Gayle Surrette
William Morrow Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061231544
Date: 13 March 2012 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I've been told that Hide Me Among the Graves is a sort of sequel to The Stress of Her Regard, however, don't let that put you off. I didn't have any problem following the storyline even though I hadn't read the previous book. My problem, and it is my problem, is that whenever I read a book by Tim Powers I find myself spending hours reading articles on historical figures and events to see what of the story is truth and what is fiction.
Powers is the master of taking historical figures and events, adding a fantastical element, mixing in a fictional character or more to help out, and shaking well and writing an amazing story that manages to sit solidly between the known and unknown of a person's life. In the case of Hide Me Among the Graves, Christina Rossetti, the poet, awakens a great evil when in her early teens that could destroy her, her family, London, and perhaps the world as it was known at the time.
The real lives of Christina and her brothers and sister, William, Dante, and Maria, match that of what is known of them. Even Christina's poetry which is often quoted at the top of the chapter headings references the fantastical element of the novel -- and it is her poetry 'cause I looked the poems up. When you check out the history, you find yourself having a difficult time remembering that it is fiction because he weaves the tale into the spaces in what is known of their lives. He also uses his fiction to explain the reasons for some of the actual historic events -- such as Christina's nervous breakdown at the age of fourteen.
Hide Me Among the Graves is a very entertaining story with some definite food for thought about families, responsibility, love, and creativity.