The Probable Future
by Alice Hoffman
(Doubleday) Alice Hoffman’s most magical and mystical novel to
date describes three generations of extraordinary women who are
driven to unite in crisis and discover the rewards of reconciliation
Women of the Sparrow family are living with the legacy of
witchcraft. Back in Colonial days, in a small settlement called
, 1697, a strange girl who can't feel physical pain walked out
of the woods and unnerved the witch-fearing townsfolk. Rebecca
Sparrow was tried as a witch and drowned. Today her descendants
possess extraordinary gifts – three living generations of Sparrow
women confront their strange and challenging heritage. Elinor, the
dying matriarch of the family, can detect falsehood. Her estranged
daughter, Jenny, can see people’s dreams when they sleep. And
thirteen year-old granddaughter, Stella, has a mental window on the
future – a future that she might not want to see.
The Probable Future this vivid and intriguing cast of
characters confronts a very current murder – against the backdrop of
. By turns chilling and enchanting,
The Probable Future chronicles young Stella’s struggles to
cope with her disturbing clairvoyance. Her potential to ruin or
redeem becomes unbearable when one of her premonitions puts her
father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. Yet this ordeal also
leads Stella to the grandmother she was forbidden to meet and to a
historic family home full of talismans from her ancestors.
Subplots are numerous: Brock Stewart, Elinor's doctor, has
been secretly in love with Elinor for years; his teenage grandson,
Hap, meets the Sparrows and develops a crush on Juliet; and Will
becomes close with Liza, an old high school classmate of Jenny's.
The plot is crowded, but Hoffman's storytelling is spellbinding.
Poignant, arresting, unsettling,
The Probable Future showcases the literary gifts that have
made Alice Hoffman one of
’s most treasured writers. In the final analysis,
The Probable Future is lush, suspenseful, rich in earthy
and sensuous detail, sweet and hopeful.
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