By: Deborah Noyes
Publication Date: June 2013
Reviewed by: M.A. Thomas
Review Date: July 2013
What would you do if someone looks exactly like you, but behaves in a completely different manner? In the chilling story, Plague in the Mirror by Deborah Noyes, seventeen-year-old May is faced with such a dilemma.
May is spending time in Florence, Italy with her best friend, Liam and his mother, Gwen. Gwen is a medieval literature teacher, working on a historical travel guidebook in Florence. Since May’s parents are in the process of getting divorced and forcing her to choose between them, she needs the diversion of spending time with her friends. One night, she is awakened by an apparition standing by the foot of her bed. May is petrified when she realizes that it is the figure of a ghost girl who looks like her identical twin dressed in an old-fashioned gown. She tells Liam her room might be haunted, but she is unwilling to go into further details.
In this eery scene of the story, May is taking a stroll, enjoying the beautiful sights of the city when she sees the milky shadow of the ghost girl, Cristofana, from her dreams. May is curious to know where she comes from, so Cristofana takes her back in time to Old Florence to show her the ruinous damages of the Black Death. When May discovers the horrors of the deadly disease, she has a hard time coming to terms with what she is experiencing and feels delusional. Left alone in the Middle Ages, she eventually meets the talented painter, Marco Veronese. Despite their language barrier, they are still able to communicate. May is immediately mesmerized and fascinated by this man.
The constant problem in May's life is her ghost twin, Cristofana, who has a dark personality and will not leave her alone. Cristofana is scared of the disease and wants May to help her. Since they are identical twins, Cristofana feels that fate can be altered if they were to switch places. Assuming May’s identity would provide Cristofana a safer haven. She is intent on taking over May’s life. Despite the darkness and gloom of Old Florence, May is fixated with the handsome painter she met there. She feels obligated to warn him and to save him from the disastrous Plague. Although she knows that the past is immutable, May wants to save lives from the disease. Will she stay in her present time with her friends or travel back to the past to be with the handsome artist, Marco?
I was very happy to review this amazing novel that takes readers back in time to a world of dread and suffering. Plague in the Mirror By Deborah Noyes is a dark story that depicts the historical enormity of the Black Death, in contrast to the beauties of modern Florence. Although I have never been to Florence, Italy, reading this story with its descriptive scenes made me feel I was actually there with May and her friends. If you are in the mood to read a haunting tale that takes you on a dark journey through time and back into the present, I would advise you to get this book. I can honestly say this was a satisfying read created by an artistic author.
Quill says: Plague in the Mirror is a unique depiction of time travel, a protagonist faced with an important decision, and a little romance in the fourteenth century.