Passion and Poison: Tales of Shape-Shifters, Ghosts, and Spirited Women
Janice M. Del Negro, Vince Natale
(Skyscape, Sept. 1, 2007)
"Giovanna undid her cloak, and it slipped to the ground. The sun was coming up over the edge of the sea, and the light caught the rubies around Giovanna’s throat and set them on fire. Rafael could not take his eyes from those flaming stones. Giovanna reached behind her head to undo the clasp that held the rubies." Janice M. Del Negro’s unique storyteller’s voice enlivens this collection of eight original tales about strong, resolute females. Whether she’s spinning a story about a brave housekeeper who does not suffer fools gladly or a woman who uses her wits to avenge her sister’s death, she embroiders her tales with elegant language and vivid imagery. There are characters and settings that will chill the bones, from the skulls in a moonlit mausoleum to the apparition of a wealthy woman "in a cyclone of light and fog" to three cauldrons filled with hair, bones, and blood. Mysterious shape-shifters and ghostly figures appear, but the women here handle them with grace and conviction. Acting to achieve justice and fairness, these characters become heroines in the landscape of the imagination. An author’s note is included.