The Book of Illumination Summary and Reviews

The Book of Illumination

A Novel from the Ghost Files

by Mary Ann Winkowski

The Book of Illumination
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Oct 2009
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

The criminal underworld meets the spiritual otherworld in this thrilling debut collaboration between the inspiration for television’s The Ghost Whisperer and an award-winning writer/director. Paperback original.

Anza O'Malley is in most ways a typical single mom. She lives a happy, busy life with her five-year-old son in Cambridge, Massachusetts, juggling the joys and challenges of life as a doting parent and a freelance bookbinder. But there is more to Anza than meets the "ungifted" eye: she can see and speak with ghosts.

Although she's been solving cold cases for the police for years, Anza has been hoping to focus her energies on her son and her bookbinding career. But when an exquisite and priceless illuminated manuscript is stolen from the Boston Athenaeum, and when its desecration spurs the appearance of some very unhappy spirits, Anza can neither look nor walk away. With an unlikely trio of ghosts by her side – a charming butler and two medieval monks – Anza leads us on an urgent journey through Boston’s winding, cobbled streets to uncover a trail of deceit, danger, and ghoulish intrigue.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"An authentic ghost whisperer reveals the workings of her mind and heart in this absorbing novel that sheds light on earthbound spirits in need of guidance home. An illuminating tale." - Cleo Coyle, national bestselling author of The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

"Engaging characters, clever twists ... bright and spirited in every sense of the word. The Book of Illumination will light up your To-Be-Read list. An otherworldly delight." - Kate Collins, author of the Flower Shop Mystery series

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Reader Reviews

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Rosario D. (South El Monte, CA)

I couldn't put it down!
I highly recommend this book to anyone. If you enjoy thrillers and mysteries you have to read this book, throw in the paranormal and you have a very enjoyable read. I just couldn't put it down. It was fun and refreshing. Perfect ghost story.

Crystal F. (CA)

Drawn into the story by the very first sentence
The Book of Illumination is an interesting, clean cut book, and a swift read. Single mother, Speranza (Anza for short) O’Malley, tells the story. I experienced the events as Anza had and liked the way timelines were weaved.

Drawn into the story by the very first sentence, “I should not have answered the phone,” made me immediately wonder why and want to know more.

I instantly fell for Johnny “Woolsie” Graby, the charming old butler. His part involved a second book, a children's book that was misplaced. His story was separate from the main course but his resolution allowed for an easier ending, brought calm to the chaos of the entire story.

My favorite part with the monks was in chapter twenty-two, when they explained the creation of the book…“A spell for the eye weaved we, letters of magic to sanctify the page as the flower sanctifies the meadow and of the bird the air”…

There were ghost but this was not a tale of horror in the slightest. This was a mystery with a supernatural twist, a whodunit kind of mystery/drama. There was no sex or gore/graphic violence, which was extremely nice.

Cop and robber, FBI, and similar stories are usually not my kind. This book kept this at a distance, Anza is not a cop so her involvement in catching the robber’(s) was as a common citizen. An A for me.

The TV show, Ghost Whisper does come into mind when reading. One difference is that Anza can not only see the, “light,” but can summon it to allow earth-bound spirits entrance.

The Book of Illumination was a great read with well-formed characters. I quite enjoyed it and would recommend it as a must read. I look forward to more fiction from, Mary Ann Winkowski and Maureen Foley.

Penny N. (Saginaw, MI)

Ghosts and Illuminations
A clever and "spirited" mystery about ghosts and an ancient book that takes place in modern Cambridge, MA. Anza O'Malley, a single mom and ghost-whisperer, solves the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful, illuminated manuscript. With the help of three ghosts O'Malley not only solves the crime she also brings an estranged family together. The book is also an interesting introduction to the art of bookbinding.

Dianne S. (Shelton, connecticut)

A Wonderful Surprise of a Read!
As it says on the back of the cover “the criminal underworld collides with the spiritual otherworld” describes this book perfectly! And for once what you read on the back cover and the blurbs is exactly what you get. Anza O’Malley is a ghost whisperer who can help those who need to go over to the “other side”. Her friends all believe in what she can do and so she is called to help out when ghosts take a liking to making life miserable for Sylvia Cremaldi who is working on re-binding this important document. But soon this Illumination gets stolen and things take a turn for the worse.

This was a surprisingly enjoyable read for me. I wasn’t sure about reading yet another novel about ghosts and the people that talk to them, but this book wasn’t just another paranormal read for me. This book was many things; it was a mystery book, a wonderful story about friendship and family and a knowledgeable glimpse into the inner workings of rare book acquisitions and to those that maintain the books.

The story and characters are wonderfully written and came alive for me. I actually wished that I had family and friends like the ones here! The mystery had enough red herrings that it made it difficult to figure out who really stole the manuscript and the writing made me think that perhaps I should rethink the existence of ghosts living among us.

A very fine start to what looks to be a new series. I can’t wait for another.

Donna W. (Hamilton, NJ)

The Book of Illumination
The Book of Illumination: A Novel from the Ghost Files has all the things I like; ghosts, mystery, libraries, archives with precious things, clever art thieves, art history, book binding, unrequited love, Boston Brahmins, and an illuminated manuscript with ghost monks from the 16th century attached. What more could I want? This is a lovely, light Sunday read.

Barb W. (Mechanicsburg, PA)

an enjoyable read
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to, although the ending seemed a bit hurried and anti-climactic. The main characters were all believable, and the story itself kept me wondering what would happen next. I hope this is the first in a series, as I would love to read more about Anza and Henry!

...11 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Mary Ann Winkowski is the author of When Ghosts Speak. She is a paranormal investigator who has collaborated closely with several federal agencies and is the high-profile consultant for the CBS series The Ghost Whisperer. Visit her online. Maureen Foley is the acclaimed writer, producer, and director of the films American Wake and the award-winning Home Before Dark. Visit her online.

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