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Review and interview in Focus on Women

Focus on Women
Although she has edited two anthologies, this book of short fiction is Madeline's first. Labeled "Gothic" by reviewers, the fiction is unlike the old Gothic stories which dealt with vampires, werewolves and other imaginary evils. Madeline herself describes her stories as being "on the threshold of reality."

The pithy tales are long on deception and short on traditional love, but love has pitched its tent here nevertheless: the destructive love between brother and sister in "The Beacon," the attachment and unresolved pain between the daughter who returns to sit beside her dying mother in "Going East," and the love Pallagia felt all of her life for her saviour, Henri, in "Apparations." The tales make me feel grateful I've made my way through life without encountering these kinds of twisted lives and plots, pain and betrayal.

Madeline is a practicing witch, and I wondered how this affected her stories. "Witchcraft is a world view," she says, "and a world view influences your writing. So I became aware, for example, of karmic connections, and seeing the metaphor behind the literal phenomena, and of the fact that energy has potency. Thoughts can enact changes, both positive and negatives, in your world."

I'd have liked more of those positive changes in this book, more smiles to balance the shivers, but that's just me.
-Cherie Thiessen, Focus on Women