The Cat the Crow and the Grimoire
Stopgap, Arkansas in 1875 doesn’t have a lot of amenities, other than mud. One non-mud good thing is reliable witch/midwife, Gwendolyn Higgins. Unfortunately, not everyone in town is happy that Gwendolyn even exists. When she loses one patient too many, she’s blamed for murder. She has to run, just like she always has, due to a painful and violent past. It’s a good thing she has supernatural help in the form of a smart alec cat, a zombified crow, and an opinionated book of magic.
Winner of the 2017 A Woman's Write Contest!
Reviews of "The Cat, the Crow and the Grimoire" from Amazon:
Marilyn Rucker’s new novel, The Cat, The Crow and The Grimoire, focuses on a mysterious former slave surviving as best she can in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Because of her knowledge of herbs for healing and magic, Gwendolyn Higgins is asked by an Arkansas neighbor to assist with her childbirth, but when the woman dies, Gwendolyn is accused of witchcraft. Forced to flee her homestead when threatened with lynching, she is approached by the two orphaned children of her former patient, begging her to take them along since they don’t want to live with their brutish father. She also takes her “familiar” cat Ra and a crow named Jaspar who acts as a spy by “sharing” his eyes with her. A threatening encounter with a Native American group and the ceremonial ingestion of peyote calls forth visions of Gwendolyn’s chaotic childhood and her tutelage by an ancient crone who presented her with a Grimoire--a book of arcane words and invocations that gave her supernatural abilities to make amulets, cast spells and summon supernatural beings. Escaping from the Comanches after Ra morphs into a saber tooth tiger, Gwendolyn unexpectedly finds a lover, then another, and searches for a son she’d thought was dead. But liberating him and others along the way with her powerful magic will exhaust her inner resources, perhaps fatally.
Rucker writes this mind-twisting story with confidence and verve. Gwendolyn is endowed with intelligence drawn from books, a high degree of street smarts, and with a “dry as the Texas dust” sense of humor that the author no doubt shares. Rucker manages to weave together several large concepts in the course of her page-turner tale: magic and wicca-craft; racial prejudice and the hate it engenders, especially as this factor played out after the Civil War; and the general deplorable maltreatment of women, children, and slaves. Her heroine, with her odd entourage of friends, children and animals, is a model of self-sufficiency, not only able to live in perilous and deprived circumstance but also to rescue her charges and others single-handedly, many times, through her warm heart and quick wit.
The Cat, The Crow and The Grimoire won first place in the annual Novel Competition at A Woman’s Write. Rucker’s book is a highly recommended work of women’s fiction with its admirable, adventurous female lead and the grip of a thoroughly engaging, cinematic plot.
Barbara Bamberger Scott
This was a thoroughly engaging story, well told. I know the author as a musician and songwriter. Her music is generally humorous, and that's what I was expecting here. But this is not that. This a story with depth and humanity, and difficult as well as joyous moments. And some humor too. Anyway, I loved it. Well done!
Quite a western. Features an unforgettable female main character, and a lot of magic, but still retains the feel of a action/adventure western. Wish I'd written it.
Disclaimer: I know and admire the author! The protagonist of this novel is an amazing woman who--despite the racism and sexism that threaten her life--lives courageously, humorously, and magically. The novel achieves both depth of humanity and suspense. A great read!
Cat Lovin' Word Woman
And here's the blog "Girl Who Reads" review of The Cat, the Crow and the Grimoire:
Sax and the Suburb
You can also pick it up as an ebook from amazon (bit.ly/SaxSuburb)
or barnes and noble (http://bit.ly/ROCVMm) . If you don't have an ebook reader, you can use your regular computer to read it. Although it's going to be hard lugging your desktop computer around to lunch and soccer games because you can't put the darn book down!