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The Book of Obeah (Crossroads Series 1) by [Carrington-Smith, Sandra]
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The Book of Obeah (Crossroads Series 1) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 313 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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An emotional journey deep into the dark and haunting world of voodoo. A powerful book which will forever impact the reader. (Natalie Kimber, Operations Manager, Office of Scholarly and Literary Publications at Georgetown) A refreshing original with a dose of New Orleans Voodoo sprinkled in, sure to capture the attention of all who are interested in secrets, mystery, romance and spiritual truths. (Cherie Lassiter, Spiritual Teacher, psychic, Tarot)

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Launched the "Hooked on the Book" Campaign (see

Winner of International Book Awards 2010, Multicultural Category

"The Fate of All Rests with a Universal Awakening"

Upon the passing of her beloved grandmother, Melody Bennet receives startling instructions that she is to take the ashes of Grandmama Giselle to southern Louisiana. Melody must step far outside her comfort zone in the suburbs of North Carolina to fulfill this dying wish.

She finds herself blindly navigating the exotic, sometimes hostile environs of New Orleans and Bear Bayou, and immersed in a subculture based on an ancient West African religion.

At this unexpected crossroad, she discovers new cultures and beliefs -- and new dangers -- and awakens to a new way of seeing the world and her role in it.

Melody learns that a different perspective can indeed change your perception of reality.

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #487,567 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Obeah. The ancient religion from Africa. Obeah, brought to the New World and surrounding islands during the slave trade. To my mind, this book vibrates with mysticism, pulsing blood, and the rhythm of drumming. The Book of Obeah becomes a character of the story, even while no one knows where it is or even if it exists. But wait. This is the past, but the past will shortly catch up with the present and portents of the future. We, the readers, don't realize this yet.

There is a Preface which, though a Choctaw proclamation rather than African, is very meaningful in the basic principles of both religions, for want of a better word. It is worth reading this "Translation of Choctaw tribal shaman proclamation; Bayou-Lacombe, LA; Circa 1878" before you begin the story

The Prologue sent a chill down my spine, the terror was palpable whether based on reality or the mind of an unstable mother. What an attention-grabber! This is crucial information and sets the scene that will answer many questions both in the story's future, and the near future of the main character, Melody Bennett. She is about to have her world turned inside-out. Melody has never heard of Obeah. She was born and raised in North Carolina.

Melody's precious Grandmama has died, and left her a letter with some very strange requests. She has instructed her to go to a specific bayou of New Orleans and scatter her ashes there. But first, she must find a childhood friend of Grandmama's Marie Devereux in the Louisiana bayou. A very daunting task, so many questions with no answers. Why New Orleans? Didn't they always live in North Carolina?. Melody had a very close bond with Grandmama and feels an urgency to carry out her last wishes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa7524240) out of 5 stars 87 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa78551b0) out of 5 stars All rests with a universal awakening.... April 21 2010
By Rebecca Cox - Published on
Format: Paperback
Last Friday night I came home from work and found The Book of Obeah by Sandra Carrington-Smith in my mailbox. I had selected this book from Review the Book based on the out of the ordinary synopsis. I decided to pick the book up after supper and read a little before bedtime; at least that was the plan. This book captured me from the start and would not let me go. I kept looking for a stopping point, a place I could relax and take a breath, set it down and go to sleep, but there was none. I was physically attached to the characters and the prose and I could not stop until it was over, at 4:30 am. The last time a book took hold of me this way was a long time ago. And I have delayed writing this review because I have not wanted to scrutinize why this story touched me the way it did. But, review it I must.
Melody Bennet's beloved Grandmama Giselle dies and leaves her one last request. She is to take her grandmother's ashes to New Orleans, have them blessed by a Voodoo Priestess and spread them on Bear Bayou. Melody has lived her entire life in North Carolina with no awareness of her family history on the Bayou, the culture or practice of Voodoo or of any living relatives on the Bayou. What she finds is more than she bargained for and changes everything in her life forever.
This book is steeped in mystery, spirituality, lessons, love, loss and traditions. It makes you question your assessment of Voodoo and other religions and I kept wondering how much was fact and how much was fiction. It has led me on a quest for more information. And, I've had a wonderful conversation with the author herself who I have found open and delightful to talk to. I have already questioned her about more books to come and as I had guessed, this is the first book in a series so look for more great reading to come.
I see that I still have not told you why this book affected me in such a way, and this I cannot answer. You must read it for yourself, and see if it reaches up for you. But beware; you may want to wait till Saturday morning to start it!
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa627cf18) out of 5 stars Too much exposition to be effective as a novel. Oct. 6 2010
By Devi Spring - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was really excited about this book. I really was. As a practitioner of hoodoo, and a long-time student of African Diasporic spiritual traditions, AND as someone with a 150+ year family history in New Orleans, I was REALLY excited about this book. The authors background made me even more hopeful that this would be a truly fantastic read.

Unfortunately it just wasn't very well written. The author relies in exposition for nearly everything, not allowing the characters themselves to bring the story to life. While I figured that in the beginning the mini-lectures on "NOLA Voodoo 101" were necessary and probably no easy way to have the story itself bring it out, I let that go thinking that now that the info was out the book could take flight. But that never happened. Even when a character would go to tell about themselves, readers would get a paragraph of dialogue followed by the invisible narrative force taking over to summarize those background elements. It seemed that the dialogue was just a tool that got the book from one expositional piece to another. I kept waiting for the author to allow the characters to speak for themselves, but it never really happened. The dialogue wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly strong or riveting when it did occur. Even the more interesting characters just felt under-developed and I never really gained any real attachments to any of them.

There were plenty of historically and academically inaccurate bits that rubbed me the wrong way, which had the narrative been a bit more artfully crafted and polished would have been completely forgivable and I wouldn't have probably even mentioned them here. But since there was no real distraction from the seemingly endless information dumps, I got tired of being lectured by the various personages in the tale, and so was simply painfully aware of the details. Stuff like the spelling of "magick" being used in a document that is supposed to be several generations old. I am completely aware of the Crowley's Thelema having a large influence on modern NOLA Voodoo, but his anachronistic spelling simply would not have been known of when that document was supposed to have been written. Similarly, I simply cannot buy that the OTO/Thelemic psychological model of spirits all being parts of our own mind, would be part of the native African beliefs from which the Diasporic traditions sprung. In modern NOLA Voodoo, sure, but not in Africa. And while I realize that Vodou and Lukumi have become seamlessly intertwined in many NOLA Voodooist practices, I did find the assertion that the Lwa and Orisha are basically interchangeable to be a bit off-putting. The rather beat-you-over-the-head with its sweeping Universalism did get a bit tiring as well, though I understand that the author was trying to acheive an awakening in the reader (who is assumed to know nothing of these traditions but the Hollywood stereotypes, which in most cases is probably true).

On a positive note, I will say that the author obviously knows and loves New Orleans and the surrounding bayous. The descriptions of the city were bang on, and made me long to return. These small sections were by far and away the best parts of the book, and I could have read those all day. I wish she would take the care and passion that she puts into presenting the city and the land, and translate that into the story and character development.

This book felt very "Celestine Prophecy" to me, in that it was trying so hard to be Universalist and introduce a new spiritual perspective to the masses (a noble endeavor), but simply cannot muster the sophisticated writing necessary to make it a really high-quality read.

The overall concept for the book is a great one, and the plot idea is very interesting and I would actually be mildly curious to find out how things resolve. But I honestly had a hard time getting through this installment and very much doubt that I will continue on with the series. However I do earnestly hope that the author grows and evolves her storytelling abilities, because this is a great concept that was just poorly executed in this first offering.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6346e70) out of 5 stars The Book of Obeah April 20 2010
By Stephanie Rose Bird - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hailing from suburban North Carolina, Melody is thrown into, what is for her, the mysterious and exotic world of New Orleans voodoo by her Grandmama, a white practicing voodooist. Melody encounters many well developed characters along her journey of finding the powerful Book of Obeah. As a first novel for Sandra Carrington-Smith, "The Book of Obeah" is a shinning achievement. Though not derivative, Carrington-Smith's work has some of the mysticism, pace and suspense of "DaVinci Code" and a bit of the feel of the film, Skeleton Key. "The Book of Obeah" is actually filled with suspense and towards the end it works really well as a psychological thriller. "The Book of Obeah," the novel is a complex book in much the same way as the famed real life Book of Obeah. Carrington-Smith's book is part novel, part teaching text, building a better understanding of the intricate complexities of voodoo and its multi-hued practitioners.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa65fccf0) out of 5 stars A novel that can awaken your connection to the world May 10 2011
By K. Holjes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Book of Obeah is representative of the author who wrote it. By that I mean the novel is gentle, informative and multi-layered, opening a world of spirituality that I had not before encountered.

I was fortunate to meet Sandra Carrington-Smith through a professional group to which we both belong. I was immediately drawn to her easy, open personality. When I found out that she had authored two books, The Book of Obeah and a non-fiction book, Housekeeping for the Soul, I quickly ordered them from Amazon. It's important to me to support local authors; but in this case, I felt compelled to not only purchase the books, but to also actually read them. As soon as I started The Book of Obeah, I was hooked.

As an editor, I noticed some technical issues and some copy-editing items the publisher had missed, but putting those minor points aside, I quickly became engrossed in the plot, the rich setting, the characters and the spiritual voice of the novel. Up until this read, my only knowledge of Voodoo was imparted through Hollywood thrillers and cable documentaries. The Book of Obeah quickly set some of my prior conceptions on their ears.

Sandra Carrington-Smith brings a unique perspective and knowledge to her writing. She was raised in Italy in a spiritual cocktail of a family: her maternal grandmother was a Strega witch; her paternal grandmother, a Christian healer; her father, a devout Catholic; and her mother, a Voodoo priestess. By following the well-known writers' adage, "write what you know," Sandra invites the reader into a spiritual world marked by enlightenment.

Do yourself a favor and not only buy this book but also move it to the top of your reading pile. Your soul will sing in appreciation.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6346c18) out of 5 stars Journeys into your past can change your future April 21 2010
By Lolly - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have ever looked into your own heart, and were surprised by what you found; if you have ever read your grandmother's old letters, or cleaned out her attic, and were shocked by what you learned about her; you will love The Book of Obeah and you will keep your eye on this author.