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Urquhart

The Visionist

Urquhart The Visionist
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Biographical note:

Rachel Urquhart makes her debut as a novelist with THE VISIONIST. She is the author of three Chic Simple lifestyle books. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.

Main description:

An enthralling first novel about a teenage girl who finds refuge--but perhaps not--in an 1840s Shaker community.

After 15-year-old Polly Kimball sets fire to the family farm, killing her abusive father, she and her young brother find shelter in a Massachusetts Shaker community called the City of Hope. It is the Era of Manifestations, when young girls in Shaker enclaves all across the Northeast are experiencing extraordinary mystical visions, earning them the honorific of "Visionist" and bringing renown to their settlements.

The City of Hope has not yet been blessed with a Visionist, but that changes when Polly arrives and is unexpectedly exalted. As she struggles to keep her dark secrets concealed in the face of increasing scrutiny, Polly finds herself in a life-changing friendship with a young Shaker sister named Charity, a girl who will stake everything-even her faith-on Polly's honesty and purity.

Review quote:

"The Visionist reads in parts like a Victorian thriller...but [it] is more than a mystery. Ms. Urquhart also takes a close look at the notions of justice, faith and morality that prevailed at the time and the struggles of those trying to live 'pure' lives...In a painstakingly researched novel framed by a suspenseful plot, Ms. Urquhart gives the reader an intriguing glimpse behind these doors." - The Wall Street Journal

Review quote:

"The Visionist is both a haunting, beautifully imagined tale of lives devastated by cruelty and transformed by love, and a gorgeously evocative portrait of an 1840s Shaker settlement that is as startling as it is convincing."—Cathy Buchanan, author of THE PAINTED GIRLS

Review quote:

"A daring novel of secrets, revelations, and redemption...Rachel Urquhart's engrossing first novel...sparks a story of guild, greed, friendship, and fanatical piety in 19th-century Massachusetts." -O, the Oprah Magazine

Review quote:

"A simmering, brooding novel...[Urquhart] delivers a book perfectly suited to curling up with by the hearth...Both the era and the culture are deeply explored, as is the psyche of a tormented girl for whom it seems there is no safe haven." - The New York Daily News

Review quote:

"Beautifully written in the language and style of the 1840s, The Visionist is a fascinating story detailing an often overlooked religious sect: the Shakers."-The Gazette (Iowa City)

Review quote:

"Rachel Urquhart paints a fascinating, complex portrait of Shaker culture in early America. An unexpected coming of age story, a suspenseful mystery. But what makes The Visionist particularly engaging is its thoughtful examination of the nature of good and evil, and our struggle to recognize it in ourselves and in others."—Eowyn Ivey, New York Times bestselling author of The Snow Child

Review quote:

"Rachel Urquhart's shatteringly original debut transports readers...The Visionist is told in three eloquent voices, Polly, Sister Charity and Simon Pryor, all blazingly alive, each walking a high-wire act of moral choices...writing so rich, so detailed, that you not only come to care for all the characters deeply, you also become so immersed in the world of the Shakers, you can almost feel the floor moving as they stomp in ecstatic dance. Part mystery and part thriller, The Visionist is also a shimmering exploration of identity." -San Francisco Chronicle

Review quote:

"Rachel Urquhart's transporting debut The Visionist lifts the veil on the intriguing, mystical past world of the Massachusetts Shakers.PRAISE FOR THE VISIONIST:

"Gripping, profound, and beautifully written, The Visionist takes us to a world where faith and fear exist simultaneously and safety has a price. A remarkable exploration of love in all its forms with complex characters who linger far beyond the final pages."—Brunonia Barry, author of THE LACE READER


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