Review of The Diviner’s Tale by Bradford Morrow

The Diviner's TaleBook/Author: The Diviner’s Tale by Bradford Morrow
Publisher/Year: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – January 20, 2011
Genre: Adult Fiction — Mystery/Thriller
How I got this book: An e-galley from the publisher on NetGalley
Why I read it: I’m trying to read outside my normal genres and so I wanted to try a good mystery.

Cassandra Brooks, a diviner by trade and a single mother of two boys, is hired to dowse the land for a developer in search of a water source. She finds much more than that as she sees a young girl hanging from a tree. She rushes to call the police and returns to show them the body only to find it has disappeared or been removed. Known for being an outcast because of her trade, it is speculated that she just had a weird vision. The police bring her back to revisit the scene when a girl, identical to the hanging girl, is found wandering in the woods confused about where she is and refuses to answer questions. Who is this girl and what happened to her? Her visions and divinations uncover a bigger mystery that put her and her family in serious danger.

I don’t typically read mystery/thriller type books but this year I’m trying to discover new genres. I call myself an eclectic reader but there are some genres I just haven’t yet explored. I was craving a good mystery, and this one sounded really interesting, but I think I got a lot more than what I thought I’d get from this one! It was a lot more than a lady with some sort of psychic powers helping to solve crimes–all fun and reminiscent of various tv shows I’ve enjoyed. It deals with familial issues and truly accepting yourself. That all sounds corny but it just a lot deeper than your typical mystery/thriller (at least ones that I’ve read). It also had some incredible beautiful prose describing some of the natural world–which was a huge element of this story considering her profession. Basically what she does is walks about the land with a divining rod and listens to the land in order to find water sources and minerals and such.

The plot was interesting and there were plenty of twists and turns. Some of the things seemed very predictable (I don’t know if it’s just me because I always figure out “who dunit” during shows like CSI) and I think I would have felt a little unsatisfied had the book not had the kind of substance it did. I thought the various relationships were interesting and well explored and I really started to adore Cassandra. Nep, her father, was my favorite though!  I loved her relationship with her boys although it seemed like they took care of her but you could tell they just thought the world of their mom. The only thing that irked me was these boys seemed WAY to smart for their age. I’ve seen a lot of clever kids their age but they just seemed a little over the top.

My final thought: If you like your mystery/thriller books with a little more substance, beautiful prose and a dash of the supernatural, you will enjoy The Diviner’s Tale. The mystery of her visions and ability to sense things most can’t are just as interesting as figuring out all the tangible mysteries. If you are expecting a mystery/thriller that is mostly plot driven and has you on the edge of your seat every second of the book, you might want to look elsewhere as sometimes it was a slower pace. It wasn’t some action packed, twists and turns at every page type of novel. I really enjoyed it but I know it won’t be as fast paced as some readers like it.

Any other suggestions for mystery/thrillers with a little bit more substance like this one?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Anupam karn says:

    Books' world is so wide that i find it very difficult to touch all genres. But kudos to you this regard! Nice Review. will go for it as soon as i get the time. currently finished SIGNAL AND NOISE by Carla Sinclair(thriller).You may like it

  2. JessiKay89 says:

    I've never heard of this book, but it sounds just up my alley. Mystery is a genre that I really should look into–I mean, I do call myself an eclectic reader, after all!

  3. I've got this one on my queue on Net Galley and was wondering if it would be too scary, actually. It does sound good, though!

  4. I love the mystery genre , almost addicted to it. I have this on Netgalley too, so am glad that you enjoyed it.
    Some authors in this genre whom I love and would recommend:
    Tana French – In The Woods, The Likeness
    Kate Morton – The House at Riverton, The Distant Hours
    Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell (Same author) – A Fatal Inversion, A Dark Adapted Eye, The Chimney Sweeper's Boy
    Carol Goodman – The Lake of Dead Languages, The Ghost Orchid

  5. jayme riley says:

    Doesn't sound like something I would be interested in, but good job on trying out new genres. I seem to get stuck on one genre at a time, but always come back to my favorites.

  6. bookmagic says:

    This sounds like the kind I might like.I second the Kate Morton, Carol Goodman recommends